Monday 23 September 2019

Vet accused of passing Faugheen info which was allegedly used to gain an unfair advantage in the betting market

Faugheen. Photo: Sportsfile
Faugheen. Photo: Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Tim Brennan faces a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) disciplinary panel hearing about allegations of corrupt or fraudulent practice in his role as a vet by passing on inside information but Brennan is free to continue his work as normal during the investigation.

Brennan's hearing surrounds the 2016 Champion Hurdle prospects of Faugheen, which was the reigning champion at the time, when the vet was used by champion trainer Willie Mullins in the build-up to the Cheltenham Festival.

There is no suggestion that Mullins or any of the staff at his Closutton stables were aware of Brennan's alleged actions or that they were not involved in any wrongdoing.

Having won the Irish Champion Hurdle in January 2016, Mullins subsequently scratched odds-on favourite Faugheen from the Champion Hurdle on February 17 due to a "sore suspensory ligament".

Brennan is accused of passing inside information to his brother Michael between January 24, 2016 and February 20 which was subsequently used to gain an unfair advantage in the betting market.

Michael Brennan "was a person of interest in this investigation" according to a BHA statement and has already been excluded from the sport "as a result of his failure to co-operate with the investigation".

The BHA outlined that the hearing, which will take place on July 16 and 17, will assess whether or not Brennan passed on information "which might be used to gain an unfair advantage in the betting market intending to make a gain for himself or another and/or to cause loss to another".

A BHA disciplinary panel will also consider whether or not Brennan "enabled and/or assisted Michael Brennan to cheat at gambling in relation to the 2016 Cheltenham Champion Hurdle".

If the allegation is made out, Tim Brennan, who was unavailable for comment when contacted last night, could be disqualified from the sport for between six months and 10 years.

Meanwhile, Gustav Klimt looks set to spearhead a three-pronged Aidan O'Brien challenge in Saturday's Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

The son of Galileo impressed on his seasonal bow at Leopardstown last month but was forced to settle for sixth place in the Newmarket equivalent behind stable companion Saxon Warrior.

"US Navy Flag and Gustav Klimt will probably run, and Threeandfourpence might be there as well. We were a bit disappointed with Gustav, he's always travelled very strongly with a lot of pace at home and the Curragh will tell us an awful lot," O'Brien said.

The Ballydoyle maestro will also have a strong hand in Sunday's 1,000 Guineas at the Kildare track with Newmarket third Happily, Clemmie and Could It Be Love set to take their chance.

They could be joined by shock English 1,000 Guineas winner Billesdon Brook with Richard Hannon debating whether or not to supplement the filly for the Curragh Classic.

"Billesdon Brook is in great form. You've got the Irish Guineas, you've got the Prix de Diane (French Oaks), you've got the Coronation (Stakes at Royal Ascot). It's pretty much all about the supplementary conditions," Hannon told At The Races.

"We're discussing with the owners, and we'll see where we go. We just need to get the money together!"

O'Brien also looks set to have two runners in Sunday's Gold Cup with Epsom Derby runner-up Cliffs Of Moher, a recent Naas winner, and Hydrangea, while former Ascot Gold Cup winner Order Of St George is on course for his comeback run in Friday's Saval Beg at Leopardstown.

Elsewhere, Gordon Elliott will bid to end his barren spell at a seven-race Flat card at Sligo this evening with the all-conquering Meath trainer going through a rare quiet spell. Placed in all three of his runs for Jessica Harrington, Loving A Bloom has a live chance under Chris Hayes in the opening maiden (5.50) having been gelded since switching stables.

Irish Independent

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