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Horse trained fined ONE PENCE after two men are caught doping his horse on CCTV and given ten-year bans

LEGENDARY horse trainer Mick Easterby was fined ONE PENCE after two men were caught doping his horse on CCTV and given ten-year bans.

A British Horseracing Authority hearing found two men employed as maintenance staff at Newcastle ‘nobbled’ 6-4 favourite Ladies First in 2018.

Legendary trainer Easterby was not to blame for what happened but fined one pence

The horse finished 22 lengths behind the winner after the two men – named as Neil Waggot and Stephen Walker – breached security to dope the horse.

Rules state a trainer must be punished if one of their horses tests positive for a banned substance.

BHA barrister Louis Weston said a probe determined Easterby, 90, was not responsible in any way for the nobbling – drugging a horse so it doesn’t win.

But strict liability rules mean there had to be a penalty of some kind – so he was fined just one pence.

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Rory Mac Neice, Easterby’s solicitor, said: “Mr Easterby had no control over who was allowed into the racecourse stabling area that day.

“That control lies with the BHA and to a lesser extent the racecourse.

“And yet it is perhaps ironic that Mr Easterby is the one who is now appearing before you.

“There is a fundamental disconnect between the rules and the responsibility.”

Philip Curl, the panel chairman said: “We are sorry that the matter has taken as long as it has and at a time when he hasn’t been enjoying the best of health.

“We wish him well for the future.”

Weston described what was seen on the CCTV.

‘VERY UNUSUAL’

He said: “They’re (Waggot and Walker) seen between them, one to be lookout and one to be acting, to act in a very unusual way.

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“The first thing about it that is unusual is that, although they were employed by the course to carry out repairs and the like to the stables, they had no purpose in going to that horse.

“One reaches into his pocket and puts his hand towards the horse’s head.

“We say in that action they were giving the horse Timolo (a beta blocker), with the intention of doping that horse.”

Weston said the CCTV appeared to show the two men doping another horse, Victoriano, who finished sixth and subsequently tested positive for Timolol.

‘ODD ARRANGEMENT’

Mac Neice said Waggot and Walker were in a ‘very odd arrangement’ whereby they were not paid by the racecourse but the stable manager.

A report on the Racing Post said Mac Neice added: “No-one at the racecourse or at the BHA asked any questions of them.

“To gain access to Ladies First, all they had to was walk in and sign a register.

“This case identifies a very serious and very significant weakness in the protection offered to horses on the racecourse and that is a matter of very great concern to Mr Easterby.”

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A spokesman for Arc, which owns Newcastle, said: “Newcastle Racecourse takes all matters of security and integrity very seriously and meets all licencing requirements in that regard.

“Following this incident in 2018, the individuals concerned were removed from the racecourse as soon as their actions had come to light and the racecourse has provided all relevant information to the BHA, as and when requested.”

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