YORKSHIRE’S Gold Cup-winning jockey Graham Bradley is embroiled in fresh controversy after being accused of training under false pretences as he attempts to get his racing career back on track following a five-year ban from the sport.
The Wetherby-born rider, who rode Michael Dickinson’s Bregawn to victory in Cheltenham’s showpiece race in 1983, now faces a British Horseracing Authority hearing over claims that he has been training horses under the name of Brendan Powell – the 1988 Grand National-winning rider on Rhyme ‘n’ Reason.
Bradley, who has been assisting Powell at the latter’s stables in Lambourn, did apply for a training licence in May last year. A decision was still pending prior to yesterday’s turn of events.
The hearing will seek to establish whether Powell is in breach of Rule (A)37 in that he assisted, encouraged or caused Bradley to train horses to run in races, and then allowed them to run under his name.
Bradley faces similar charges, in that he is alleged to have trained horses to run in England, Wales and Scotland without holding a licence, and that he encouraged Powell to act in a manner prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct or good reputation of horseracing.
Both could be fined and banned from the sport, though Powell maintained last night that he is not guilty of any wrongdoing.
The trainer, whose son Brendan junior is now a leading jump jockey, said: “Graham brought the horses to my yard and I’ve been training them for a year and a half while he’s been waiting to get a licence.
“Graham had owners waiting and he got them horses and asked me to train them. He’s been in here three or four days a week helping out. I can’t really say that much else.
“I’ve been training the horses, they’re in my yard and I’ll just have to go along with what they say.
“All I’ve been trying to do is help Graham because he had a lot to learn and that is basically what it is.”
A date for the hearing has yet to be announced by the BHA, who said Bradley’s application to train “has not been, and will not be, considered” until this investigation is concluded.
A spokesman declined to name the horses, or races, at the centre of the controversy.
Bradley, who retired from race-riding in 1999, was warned off for five years for passing information to gangster and drugs baron Brian Wright at a time when he was building a new career as a successful bloodstock agent in Wantage. His ban ended in 2009. He declined to comment.
As well as Bregawn’s triumph in the 1983 Gold Cup, which is still remembered for the aforementioned Dickinson training the first five horses home, Bradley won the 1996 Champion Hurdle on Collier Bay and enjoyed a great association with Suny Bay who won the 1997 Hennessy.
Suny Bay, one of the most popular steeplechasers of recent times, was trained by Charlie Brooks, who walked free from the Old Bailey last week after being found not guilty of any involvement in the phone hacking trial.
Yorkshire Oaks heroine The Fugue and 2000 Guineas winner Night Of Thunder headline the first big clash of the generations this season in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown tomorrow in which Frankie Dettori was a surprise booking for Kingston Hill.
Five-year-old The Fugue, the mount of William Buick, bids to follow up her victory in the Prince of Wales’ Stakes and erase the memory of her dismal run in this race 12 months ago when John Gosden’s mare finished last behind Al Kazeem.
She will be taken on by one of the best three-year-old colts around in Night Of Thunder – the Guineas winner was second behind the Gosden-trained Kingman in the St James’ Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Epsom Derby runner-up Kingston Hill has been declared, but his participation still depends on the state of the ground.
The Roger Varian-trained colt was a late withdrawal from the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby last weekend because conditions were considered too fast.
If he runs he will be ridden by Dettori for the first time as his usual partner Andrea Atzeni is required at Haydock by owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum, who retains the young Italian on all his horses.
It will be a chance for Dettori to get his stuttering career back on track; his Lockinge Stakes victory on Olympic Glory in May was his first Group One success in the country since landing the 2012 Ascot Gold Cup aboard Colour Vision.