Betting Scams

Old news but still interesting to consider these high profile horse racing scams.

Gay Future


Cartmel on August Bank Holiday Monday (1974)

One of the most famous horse racing betting scams of all involved trainer Anthony Collins and a horse named Gay Future. Basically, Collins plotted up a gamble on his charge for a race at Cartmel on Bank Holiday Monday. According to the form book, all of Gay Future's previous form had been moderate to say the least. However, it later transpired that Collins had not run Gay Future in these races and had instead run a far worse horse in his place.

On the day of the Cartmel race, with a string of apparently ordinary form figures by his name, Gay Future was sent off at 10/1. Collins and his syndicate protected the price of the horse by backing it in doubles and trebles with two other stablemates who were later withdrawn. In fact, they never even left the stable. All this meant that all the doubles and trebles turned into one big single bet on one of the day's easiest winners. Gay Future bolted up by 15 lengths and was returned at 10/1. Bookmakers became suspicious and the syndicate was later convicted of fraud and fined.



In The Money

Hatherleigh Selling Handicap Hurdle at Newton Abbot (1978)

In the Money recorded an easy 20 length success in a weak selling race having been backed off the boards at big prices into 8/1. It later turned out that In the Money was actually a far better horse called Cobbler's March who had already won five races before. Trainer John Bowles paid the price though as he was banned for 20 years.


Flockton Grey

Leicester 2 year-old maiden (1982)

Flockton Grey landed a massive gamble when winning by 20 lengths at first time of asking at Leicester racecourse on 29th March 1982. As a debutant from an extremely low profile yard he was priced up at 10/1 and his owners placed a huge bet on him that would return £200,000.

However, they had no intention of actually running the real Flockton grey in the contest and instead ran a far more physically developed three year old in his place called Good Hand. Unfortunately for Ken Richardson and Stephen Wiles, the two behind the scam, the 'ringer' was simply too good and won by a record winning margin. It was the size of the winning margin that caused a huge amount of suspicion and the police were soon involved as bookmakers refused to pay out.

The investigators soon found that Good Hand had a scar on his foreleg (unlike Flockton Grey) and the racecourse vet also noted that the winner had teeth too developed for a two-year-old. Both men were caught and charged with conspiracy to defraud. Richardson was warned off by the jockey club for 25 years.

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