Bad practices list for horse racing trainers includes allegation of assault

Chris Cook
The Guardian

“A degree of frustration” lay behind the decision to publish a list of allegations against the bad employment practices of some trainers, a union official has said. George McGrath, chief executive of the National Association of Racing Staff, was criticised by some trainers on Twitter after Jamie Osborne posted a picture of the list, which included allegations of unnamed trainers withholding payments and one allegation of assault. He said the list misrepresented the industry. “Inevitably there will be isolated cases of bad practice and allegations that are not representative of the reality and in my opinion this is an inappropriate way to publicise them,” he tweeted.

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Explaining his decision to publish the list of allegations in the form of a faux Christmas quiz in his biannual Stable Talk newsletter, McGrath said: “There’s a degree of frustration about it, in that we’re still dealing with stuff like this in this day and age and that should not be happening.

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“My goal was just to let the staff know this is some of the stuff we deal with. I think a lot of people in racing would be surprised by what still goes on but I must balance that by saying we are talking about a minority of trainers here.

“I’ve had some angry and irate exchanges on social media, text messages and phone calls. I don’t want to tarnish racing or the idea of having a job in racing. What I’m trying to do is show there’s still a minority there who are letting the vast majority down. It’s Jamie Osborne who’s kicked this all off on social media, not me or any of my members.”

Gay Kelleway and Ralph Beckett were among those who objected to McGrath’s course of action but not all trainers felt he was wrong to speak out in such a way. McGrath said he had expected at least as much reaction to his editorial entitled: ‘The whip: it’s doomed!’. “My view is, what’s the point of writing it if it’s not going to provoke a conversation? Otherwise you’re wasting your time,” he said.

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Meanwhile Envoi Allen sustained his unbeaten record with a bloodless three-length victory over Elixir D’Ainay in the Lawlor’s of Naas Novice Hurdle, a Grade One, on Sunday. Gordon Elliott kept his options open but the most likely outcome appears to be that Envoi Allen will go straight to Cheltenham for the Ballymore, for which he is no bigger than 6-4. The Champion Hurdle remains an option but a couple of firms offer 16-1 about him winning that.


Ayr 1.05 Miss Aloud 1.35 Ripstick 2.10 Sporty Yankee 2.40 Ettila De Sivola 3.15 Ardera Cross 3.45 Castle Rushen

Chepstow 12.50 Born To Please 1.20 John Betjeman 1.50 Exelerator Express (nb) 2.25 Tanrudy 2.55 King Erik 3.30 Duc Kauto 4.00 Mick Manhattan (nap)

Wolverhampton 4.15 Sarasota 4.45 Dream Mount 5.15 Will To Win 5.45 Illustrious Spirit 6.15 Clem A 6.45 Bee Able 7.15 Global Giant 7.45 Starlight Romance


Altior is expected to have another go at two and a half miles, Nicky Henderson having committed him to the Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton on Saturday, in which he may be opposed by Frodon. Henderson tweeted that the horse had encouraged connections in his recent work.

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