It has already been a bad year for the Irish horse racing, but now yet another case has come out which doesn't exactly put it in a better light. Jockey Eddie O'Connell has been banned from horse racing for four years, after a Turf Club investigation regarding unusual bets on the jockey's performance.
Betfair, the world's leading betting exchange site, alerted the Turf Club about fixings in the horse racing, after they had two UK based "lay" bets on O'Connell to finish outside the top three in his race, each bet of £10,000. Not only was the betting amount unusually high for the two bettors, it was also unusual that O'Connell would finish outside the top three. Betfair however paid out the bets to the players before alerting the Turf Club.
While the Turf Club has not disclosed its official findings to the public, the judge sentenced O'Connell to four years of suspension as well as give him a £10,000 fine for the costs of the trial against him. O'Connell has been trialled with two cases of not insuring that his horse would finish in the best possible position in a race.
“Obviously Eddie is very disappointed at the outcome and considering his options including his entitlement to appeal. It has been a difficult time for him personally.” O'Connell's solicitor stated to the press.
O'Connell had a total of 18 wins in the last National Hunt series, which left him just outside the top 20 best jump jockeys ever. This is a major part of the evidence in the case and it seems likely that he did in fact rig his own race.
Earlier this year another case hit the Irish horse racing scene, as two trainers, Philip Fenton and Pat Hughes, was found with illegal medicines for their horses which included anabolic steroids.