Wild horses

Champion jockey Kieren Fallon was arrested last week in connection with an investigation into a race-fixing scandal. He claimed that he was “treated like a terrorist and kept in custody for 14 hours, mostly in the cells”. If the allegations are substantiated, he deserves much worse than that. Racing can only survive if it maintains its integrity, with millions of pounds of ordinary people’s money at stake every day. Computer records taken from Fallon’s home are supposed to provide the proof, yet his solicitor says the enigmatic Irishman is not even capable of switching his machine on.

Whatever the case may be, Fallon remains a hero to me. I tipped him to win the Derby and the Oaks on this page and he duly obliged. What do I care if he was pipped at the post after holding an unassailable looking lead in a donkey’s race at Lingfield? Such contests are for the desperate in betting terms. In France and Germany, these things do not happen. One is controlled by the Paris-Mutuell, a crime in itself and the other does not share our passion for the sport of kings, relegating horse racing to a minority niche. Perhaps it would be a good idea to leave the betting side of things to bookmakers, no angels themselves, instead of promoting internet exchanges, which encourage the public to heavily back a loser?