Cranbourne trainer Francis Finnegan and Queensland-based jockey Ben Thompson will face serious charges relating to an alleged horse swap at three jumpouts last year.
Stewards charged Finnegan with “dishonest, fraudulent, improper and/or dishonourable” conduct after he allegedly jumped out No Frontiers under other horses’ names in March and April last year.
Stewards alleged Finnegan ran No Frontiers under the name of stablemate Avozhina in a jumpout at Cranbourne on March 23 last year and under the name Getemhel in jumpouts on April 6 and 20.
Jumpouts are not deemed official trials in Victoria. Chief steward Robert Cram said the integrity team only conducted random checks of horse identification cards at jumpouts, unless the horse was being tested for a barrier certificate or other racing qualification.
It’s alleged Finnegan hid No Frontiers’ true identity “to conceal No Frontiers’ true capability from the broader betting market, in order to eventually race the horse and make a profit from betting on it through his and/or others’ accounts.”
Jockey Ben Thompson has been charged with giving false or misleading evidence to stewards and deleting material from his mobile phone. Photo: AAP Image/Supplied by Natasha Morello/Racing Photos.Source:AAP
No Frontiers easily won her first race start at Bairnsdale on May 3, starting at $8, before scoring again at her only other outing at Cranbourne last August.
Finnegan was also charged with giving false or misleading evidence when twice questioned while he was also charged with improper conduct and conspiracy to breach the rules of racing.
Stewards alleged Finnegan deleted incriminating messages and call records from his phone and approached jockey Ben Thompson do the same sometime between May 3 and May 11 last year.
Thompson faces two charges relating to his alleged conduct during the inquiry into No Frontiers’ identity at the jumpouts.
Stewards charged Thompson with giving false or misleading evidence during their inquiries. The jockey was also charged with conduct detrimental to the interests of racing for allegedly deleting call records and messages between himself and Finnegan from his phone.
Thompson rode No Frontiers to her two wins but moved to Queensland to be with partner Stephanie Thornton last year.
Thompson and Finnegan will appear at the Victorian Racing Tribunal on a date to be fixed.
Originally published asTrainer & jockey charged over jumpout switch
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