Mystery over top secret Cheltenham Festival leak as furious Ruby Walsh blasts ‘unfair’ advantage to certain punters

CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL bosses are scrambling to find out how top secret information that gave certain punters an unfair advantage was leaked a day early.

Mystery surrounds how details on the weights horses would carry in the nine handicap races secretly got out.

Walsh gave a passionate speech slamming racing chiefs for allowing the leak of top secret information to happen

Furious Ruby Walsh said the leak gave those punters privy to the information an unfair advantage.

Respected ITV pundit Kevin Blake claimed the weights were ‘released behind closed doors’ last Tuesday, a day before Wednesday’s noon embargo.

Walsh, Cheltenham Festival’s top jockey, roared ‘that’s not fair!’ as he delivered a passionate speech slamming chiefs for not keeping the information under tighter wraps.

The weights of all the horses were due to be released at a press event at Cheltenham racecourse.

Handicappers employed by the BHA assess the horses, give them a rating and weight to carry, and pass the information onto Weatherbys before it is received by The Jockey Club.

According to the BHA’s Andrew Mealor, the weights were finalised on Monday, before being sent to Weatherbys, who do the admin for the governing body.


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The Jockey Club then receive the figures and make them public to trainers, owners and punters.

Somewhere along the line the data of almost 600 horses was passed on early – but at the moment, no one appears to know or is able to confirm how or when.

Some punters were able to find those horses given good marks and place their bets – hours before anyone else knew.

Speaking on Racing TV’s Road to Cheltenham on Thursday night, Walsh said: “The weights were actually released behind closed doors on Tuesday by the BHA, etc etc.

“Some people had a headstart for those who wanted to punt ante-post.

“Now the BHA is all for transparency. That’s not a level playing field if you’re a punter.

“Whoever they are, some people had access to them before everyone else.

“Now this is the watchers, the BHA, who are into transparency and into looking at what everyone else is doing… we’re looking at you. That’s not fair!”

Co-host Lydia Hislop rightly pointed out that more than one body was involved in the process and that it was tough to put the blame at the door of any one body or individual.

Walsh added: “Who is in charge of that particular product? That is owned, the handicap is owned by the BHA. That was their material to release.

“They’re in charge of integrity. That was not done with integrity in mind.”

The process of releasing the weighs was changed this year to avoid what happened in 2022.

The Jockey Club, who own Cheltenham and 14 other racecourses, were forced into a mad dash to package the information then due to how close to the embargo the handicappers submitted their ratings.

Punters have been betting on this year’s Festival since the end of last year’s.

Bookies predict some £1billion will be staked on the 28 races over four days from March 14.


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