Scottish Grand National-winning jockey Richie McGrath has temporarily stepped down from his role at the Professional Jockeys Association after being charged with breaching betting rules by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). McGrath, a board member with the PJA, has been charged with using inside information, along with former licensed trainer Kate Walton and ‘registered persons’ Mark Aspey, Carl Flint, Kristian Robson, David Stevens and David Greenwood.
The BHA is looking at a total of 57 races ‘potentially involved’ in this investigation, from October 2009 until April 2012. The BHA also alleges that McGrath was ‘prepared, if necessary, to omit to ride the horse on its merits so as to prevent it from winning or being placed in the race’. The charges will be considered at a hearing which is provisionally scheduled for 11 November 2014:
Paul Struthers, chief executive of the PJA, said: “We respect Richie’s decision to temporarily stand down from being on our board. In the meantime, it is the PJA’s role to support Richie where we are able and we will offer every assistance we can to him.”
McGrath’s solicitor Andrew Chalk said the jockey ‘vigorously maintains his innocence’ and suggested that the BHA has an advantage when it comes to these cases. He explained: “This case yet again highlights the vast imbalance in resources between the prosecuting authority and those who have to defend themselves, often with their livelihood at stake. A fair hearing demands a level playing field, but these cases are rarely played out on such a surface.”