A Tarnished Legend

One of the “feature” races on the opening day of the Doncaster St Leger Festival is the Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Classified Stakes, which features a host of former jockeys and indeed some racing legends.

This years renewal sees the return to the saddle of Ray Cochrane, who stopped race riding after surviving the 2000 plane crash in which he saved the life of fellow jockey Frankie Dettori.

The race also features Julie Krone, arguably the greatest female jockey ever.

However there is one name in the list of riders which should send a shiver down the spine of any true supporter of the sport – Graham Bradley.

Granted Bradley could be called a legend in the sport but for all the wrong reasons. If you are not aware Bradley was banned from the sport for five years for passing “inside information” to a third party for reward. If that was not bad enough, the man to whom the information was passed was one Brian Brendan Wright, currently spending 30 years as a guest of Her Majesty, having been described in court as “Britain’s most successful cocaine dealer in the 1990’s”

Lest anybody think Bradley’s five year ban was the result of a single misguided act this was not the first time he had crossed the racing authorities.

In 1982, early in his riding career, Bradley was suspended for two months for betting – something jockeys are not supposed to do. It is an indication of his arrogance, stupidity or both that the bet was not struck quietly, using a discreet third party. No it was actually struck in the betting ring at a meeting where he was riding.

In 1987 he was banned for three months for not making sufficient effort on a ride at Market Rasen.

Of course in order for Bradley to be able to tide again he has shown contrition for his sins.

Has he hell . . . . . his autobiography The Wayward Lad is a pathetic attempt at self-justification from a man who appears to have no moral compass and seems to be suffering from a delusional paranoia that everyone is out to get him. It is a book in which he shows no contrition.

It is questionable that Bradley should ever be allowed anywhere near a racecourse again – that he is actually being allowed to compete in a race, in such esteemed company, is nothing short of a disgrace.

Whoever considered inviting him to ride in this race, whoever granted him a licence to compete in the race should be looking for new jobs.

 

I have to confess this is my least favourite time of the year in terms of racing. The jumping season proper is still a few weeks off and the flat season is beginning to wind down. It is the time of year when the “no hopers” make their racecourse appearances in attempt to win some money to pay for their winter corn.

It is the time of year where we have a glut of large field maidens, where the challenge for the punter is not to find the best horse in the field but to try and identify the least worse yak in the field.

In other words it is the time of year when the bookmakers are rubbing their hands with delight as they collect the money to pay for their winter holidays.

 

This week I received the latest Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF) newsletter and there was a most heartening picture on the front cover – Peter O’Toole sitting at home with his parents. A photograph many feared would never be seen in the aftermath of his terrible fall at Aintree back in April. This year seems to have been particularly bad in terms of jockeys sustaining career threatening injuries.

The IJF does a fantastic job supporting not only jockeys but stable staff who are injured or need help following accidents which potentially threaten their livelihoods.

As Christmas approaches may I commend the range of cards, calendars and gifts available from the IJF and urge you to visit their website to help support their work.

The Injured Jockeys Fund

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