‘Disgusted’ Norfolk-based trainer Prodromou vows to appeal eight-year ban

Norfolk-based trainer George Prodromou says he is 'disgusted' that he has been banned for eight years for his part in race corruption and has vowed to appeal.

Prodromou was punished by the British Horseracing Authority disciplinary panel following the conclusion of a disciplinary hearing centring around the running of two horses he owned at trained in a race at Lingfield in January 2010.

The horses, Timeteam and Trip Switch, were found not to have run on their merits having been laid to lose on the betting exchanges. Prodromou, who has been training since 1993, was found guilty of three offences.

Prodromou said: 'I'm 100 per cent appealing. I think it's absolutely disgusting the way they have treated me and I'm gobsmacked, I just can't believe it.

'I haven't done anything wrong. I'll talk with my barrister and QC and we'll discuss everything to do with the appeal.

'An eight-year ban is unheard of, especially for the amounts of money they are talking about. I think it was a witch-hunt.

'I made one silly mistake (the laying of Mister Frosty, which carried an 18-month disqualification) which I held my hands up to. It was a terrible mistake, but I've still been treated more severely for that than other people who have admitted the same thing. I only did it to minimise my initial investment.

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'Previously I'd never done anything like that before in my life.'

In respect of Timeteam and Trip Switch, Cypriot-born Prodromou of East Harling, was found in breach of Rule (A)41.2 in that he conspired with other persons to commit a corrupt and fraudulent practice.

He was also found in breach of Rule (C)45.4.1 by failing to give instructions to Charlotte Kerton, the rider on both occasions, necessary for the horses to run on their merits. The Panel said it considered this the most serious breach.

Former amateur rider Kerton, who is no longer licensed and has not ridden in Britain since 2010, was found in breach of Rule (B)59.2 in that she intentionally failed to ensure that the geldings were run on their merits. The Panel ruled she should not be able to reapply for a licence for a period of six years.

Prodromou had admitted he was in breach of Rule (C)64.1 in that he placed lay bets with a betting organisation on a horse under his care and control to lose a race, namely Mister Frosty in December 2009 and January 2010.

The panel said Prodromou was guilty of 'one of the worst types of abuse of a trainer preying upon the insecurities of a moderate jockey' in directing Kerton, who was reliant on him for rides, to breach the rules.

Delivering its verdict it said: 'The Panel is mindful that this is a harsh penalty as compared with the punters who formed part of the conspiracy but these events could never occur but for a trainer who breaches the rules of racing and moreover, as in this case, the rule which goes to the heart of horse racing; namely that when a horse races a trainer ensures that it does so on its true merits.'

Prodromou insists he has the backing of his owners and is prepared to take the case to the High Court and European Court if he has to.

Four other unlicensed individuals were handed disqualifications.