A punter at the centre of an investigation into three successful lay bets on the Betfair betting exchange has said that he is “angry and baffled” by the length of time he has been under suspicion and that he has “never spoken to a trainer or jockey in my life”. Dan Wood, a Betfair customer for nine years, has been unable to use his account with the exchange for the past 12 months, although he claims to have been told by an investigator from the British Horseracing Authority that an investigation into his betting activity did not begin until March 2012.
Wood’s winning of £6,241.69 from three lay bets, all on horses with a starting price of 7-1 or above, remain frozen. The bets at the centre of the investigation were against Acosta, who was pulled up when 14-1 for a handicap hurdle at Huntingdon in May 2011; Jezza, fourth of 13 when 7-1 for a maiden hurdle at Newton Abbot in June 2011; and Timocracy, ninth of 13 when 12-1 for a handicap hurdle at Market Rasen in July the same year.
Wood said this week: “I’ve spent 90 minutes with a BHA investigator and handed over my telephone records. The investigator told me inquiries didn’t begin until March 2012, which I find unbelievable, considering Betfair suspended my account in July 2011.
“I’ve had a Betfair account for nine years and now I’m at the centre of an investigation by racing’s two biggest organisations. No wonder I’m angry and baffled.”
It is the policy of the BHA not to comment on its ongoing investigations. Tony Calvin, Betfair’s spokesman, said: “We never comment on individual accounts. That will be our only comment on the matter.”
Mars, who was as short as 10-1 favourite for next year’s Derby before setting foot on a racecourse, did as much as could be expected in his first start in a Dundalk maiden on Monday, as he made all the running from a wide draw to beat his stablemate The Ferryman by four and three-quarter lengths. The colt is a son of Galileo, out of a mare who is closely related to Invincible Spirit and is herself a daughter of Rafha, the 1990 Prix de Diane winner.
“He has a really good attitude and is very uncomplicated,” Joseph O’Brien, who rode Mars to victory, said after the race. “We have been waiting a while for a bit of nice ground.
“He’s a lovely horse. He was green as it’s his first run and he made the running. You very rarely see them win on the bridle doing that. He will come on for it.”
Mars is now top-priced at 12-1 for next year’s Epsom Classic, with Dawn Approach, the Coventry Stakes winner at Royal Ascot, next in the betting at 20-1.
Charlie Mann, who organised a boycott of a novice hurdle at Worcester last week which turned the race into a walkover, said on Monday that the dispute over prize money may soon be concluded. Mann was speaking after a meeting with Ian Renton and Jim Allen, representatives of Worcester’s parent company, Arena and Northern Racing Group.
“I think we’ll know more tomorrow,” Mann said. “We’ve had an offer made, we’re not far off an agreement and I think it will benefit everyone. I’ve got to talk to everybody.
“What we’ve done has been a massive success. We’ve achieved what we set out to do. It’s just a question of when the races will be raised to tariff. We are very close to an agreement.”
Danedream, last season’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner, is an intended runner in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, for which there are 12 remaining entries after the latest declaration stage.
John Gosden has left in Nathaniel, who won the Eclipse two weeks ago, and the season’s leading trainer could also run last year’s St Leger winner, Masked Marvel. Aidan O’Brien, the current leader in the trainers’ title, will run St Nicholas Abbey, the Coronation Cup winner.