Jockey Eddie Ahern has been banned 10 years after the British Horseracing Authority found him guilty of corruption for throwing a race.
The 33-year-old jockey was found guilty of three breaches following a corruption inquiry, including failing to ride the horse Judgethemoment on its own merits in a January 2011 race. The BHA also found the Irish jockey guilty of passing on information about the race for reward.
Despite having a lead at the halfway point of the race, Ahern eased off on Judgethemoment and ended up finishing last of seven runners in the two-mile handicap. For that infraction the jockey was banned 10 years.
In his defense, Ahern said he misjudged the pace of the horse and others in the race. But the BHA panel found that it “could not accept that a jockey of Ahern’s experience, especially on the all-weather at Lingfield, could have made an error of such an extent”.
The jockey banned for 10 years said he plans to appeal the ruling. His lawyer, Christopher Stewart-Moore, said the jockey did not do anything wrong.
“Eddie Ahern is absolutely devastated by the BHA Panel’s findings,” Stewart-Moore said in a statement to Press Association Sport. “He did not breach the rules of racing as found by the panel or at all and he will be appealing both the findings as well as the very harsh penalties imposed on him.”
Ahern’s counsel in the proceedings, Jonathan Harvie, feels his client had been “hard done-by” but held off in criticizing the tribunal that banned the jockey for 10 years.
“Justice is an imperfect thing because people decide,” he said. “Some people say one thing, some people say another, and a decision is reached. History is littered with imperfect decisions.”
Though the jockey was banned 10 years, he actually came out of the ruling better off than a co-conspirator. Neil Clement, a 34-year-old former professional soccer player, was found guilty of teaming up with Ahern and others to bet on races that would be thrown. He was banned 15 years.