A lawyer for six-time British champion jockey Kieren Fallon told a London court Oct. 10 the suggestion Fallon deliberately tried to lose races was absurd. On the third day of trial, John Kelsey-Fry described his client as "a man driven by the desire to win."
Prosecutors allege the jockey won five of the 17 races he was supposed to lose and cost the betting syndicate £338,000.
"The very fact that a man described as the greatest jockey of his generation ends up unable to help winning when he is trying to lose is simply ridiculous," said Kelsey-Fry.
Fallon had won more races at an average of 29.4% during the alleged conspiracy than the 19% he normally averaged.
Kelsey-Fry denied the letter 'n' in text messages recovered from defendants’ mobile phones was a signal of a non-trier. "Of six such texts with ‘n’ in it, which covers all of the phones, 50% of the horses won," he told jurors.
Six defendants allegedly conspired with others between December 2002 and September 2004 to defraud Betfair customers and other bettors.
The prosecution claims Fallon and two other jockeys, Fergal Lynch and Darren Williams, passed on information to syndicate boss Miles Rodgers that their rides would lose.
Fallon, 42, of Ireland, has pleaded innocent, as have Lynch and Williams, both 29 and from England. Not guilty pleas have also been entered by Rodgers, Shaun Lynch, and Philip Sherkle. Rodgers further denied having concealed the proceeds of a crime. All defendants are on bail.
Fallon allegedly used intermediaries to pass on information, but his lawyer said he was merely talking to friends about races. "Nothing wrong with that,” said Kelsey-Fry.
“If you’re champion jockey six times, you will find, you readily accept, the whole world wanting to know your opinions about every horserace there is. You will hear evidence demonstrating that Mr. Fallon was content to do so to any number of such people."
Fallon had been asked for his opinion in a BBC television interview before he scored aboard Dylan Thomas in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Oct. 7. Despite winning on Dylan Thomas, he told viewers he would rather be riding stable companion Soldier Of Fortune because of the soft ground.
Fallon’s lawyer said the prosecution showed "signs of desperation."
Peter Kelson, Rodgers’ attorney, furthered that, citing irregularities in the prosecution’s case. He told the court the officer in charge of the inquiry, who is soon to retire, has been offered a job with the "Jockey Club." Now known as the British Horseracing Authority, the organization had originally called in police to conduct an independent investigation.
"We submit that this matter goes to the root of impartiality in this matter," said Kelson. He described Rodgers as a professional and prolific gambler who had done nothing illegal.