Tuesday, 8 October 2013



Richard Hannon's Lambourn yard is placed under the spotlight

Last Updated: October 8, 2013 2:11pm


McCRIRICK tribunal hears closing transmissions today

"THE employment tribunal hearing of former Channel 4 racing betting pundit John McCririck 's 3 million age discrimination claim against the broadcaster and TV production company IMG Sports Media is due to finish this afternoon, although it is not known when the result will be announced, writes Graham Green.

"Judge Alison Lewzey is restricting council to an hour for their closing submissions in a case that, over five days last week, not only thrust racing's latest soap opera on to the news pages of all national newspapers but also received extensive television and radio coverage.

"Channel 4 is arguing that McCririck was released because of his public persona, as crafted through his appearances on reality shows like Celebrity Big Brother and Celebrity Wife Swap, and that it was attempting to take its racing coverage in a more main stream direction and did not consider he would appeal to a wider audience

"McCririck, who faces the threat of loosing his home if failing in his action, having borrowed against the property to finance the legal battle, has accused Channel 4 bosses of being age-obsessed and labelled the broadcaster's chief creative officer Jay Hunt a serial offender.

"When employment by the BBC, Hunt was responsible for axing Miriam O'Reilly from Countryfile, a decision that resulted in the presenter being awarded £110,000 after taking her complaint to a tribunal."


 Tom Kerr reports

"McCririck claims his side came out on top"
"JOHN McCRIRICK said yesterday there was "overwhelming" evidence he was axed from Channel 4 Racing due to his age as his employment tribunal against his former employers ended in London,
"Speaking following lawyers' closing submissions, McCririck, 73, described the tribunal experience as "horrendous, a daunting ordeal" but claimed his side had won the argument as the three-strong panel retired to consider their verdict, which could come later this week.
"He said: "We were confident when we started bringing this in, back in January; I always said there will never be evidence of age discrimination given in writing but I think the evidence has been over-whelming that that is just what they did.
"Channel 4 were employing me all the time, to wave my arms around, shout and screem, go on Big Brother, Little Brother, I was even on Celebrity Million Pound Drop last year. They were still bringing me in to their top-rated shows, so how can they turn around and say, 'It's appalling what you are doing'?"
"McCririck was axed after almost three decades with Channel 4 last December following the acquisition by the network of all terrestrial racing broadcast rights and the appointment of IMG Media as producers. He was one of five presenters, also including Alastair Down, Derek Thompson and Mike Cattermole, to leave the show.
"It was a cleansing," McCririck added. "The over-50's, five of them went. The under-50s, none. It was a cull. ""In closing submissions Thomas Linden QC, representing Channel 4 and IMG, said there was "no reason" to think McCririck's age was part of bosses' considerations when deciding upon the make-up of the new-look Channel 4 Racing team last year.
"Channel 4 and IMG bosses said last week McCririck was dropped due to the negative perception of him among the general public - a by-product of his numerous reality TV show appearances, it was claimed- and because his style did not suit the polished, serious-minded racing coverage they intended to produce.
"Linden said McCririck's argument that his boisterous behaviour was an act and that he could switch from a "thoroughly obnoxious media percona" to a "serious racing pundit and social commentator" at will was not credible.
"Market  research had suggested McCririck was deeply unpopular with the general public, Linden said, adding:  "He says he's on top of his game-he is if being top of his game is being most disliked by the audience.
"Linden added: "Why is Mr McCririck unpopular with the wider racing audience? Answer: because they have seen him in their millions on reality TV and have read about him ad nauseum in the media and are very aware of him, his views and his behaviour. "
"Responding for McCririck, Jennifer Eady QC said her client  had been "passionate" about his job with Channel 4 Racing.
"If there was one thing he loved doing it was this, and he had done it for 28 years, " she said. "It was hard to draw any conclusion other than this was his life. "
"Eady told the tribunal it fell to Channel 4 to prove the decision to axe  McCririck had been taken because of his age. "What you haven't got is a credible  explanation other than a discriminatory explanation. " she said.
"Addressing the explanation given by Channel 4 and IMG bosses at last week's hearings, Eady pointed out that executives had changed tack since last October, when Channel 4 sports editor Jamie Aitchison wrote in a report that the pundit was being released due to his "broadcasting skills" .
"Eady also noted that Channel 4 boss Jay Hunt had claimed at the tribunal last Friday to have personally apologised  to Miriam O'Reilly, who won an ageism case against Hunt after being sacked from BBC program Countryfile, aged 51.
"O'Reilly  flatly denied the claims and Hunt, giving further evidence yesterday, explained the apology actually referred to comments made in a newspaper interview.  
"Ms Hunt sought to give you an impression that was misleading - we say, you have to keep that in mind, " said Eady.
"Her client, who is seeking £3 million in damages, thanked colleagues and the general public for their support. "                                                                                                            

Dwyer looking for closure in appeal to BHA

“MARTIN DWYER wants to put his Indian riding ban nightmare behind him as he attempts today to persuade the BHA not to reciprocate  the 56-day ban he has been challenging since it was first imposed by the Royal Western India Turf Club eight months ago, writes Jon Lees.


“The Derby-winning rider will exercise his last chance to prevent the penalty being imposed in Britain in an appeal to the BHA’s disciplinary panel in London.


“Dwyer was first suspended in February over his riding of Ice Age at Mahalaxmi racecourse, a sentence that was subsequently  increased to eight months but then reduced back to 56 days when his final appeal to the Indian authority met with only partial success last month.


“He will be represented by barrister Graeme McPherson QC Hopper Cavendish and Didi Powles.


“Dwyer said: “I’ve submitted my grounds for not reciprocating the ban. Graeme McPherson will represent me.


“The support I’ve had has helped me through the whole year. It’s been a stressful time and I’m really thankful for that support but I am looking forward to getting it over and done with once and for all.


“To get to this point I want it all to be over, whichever way it goes, as long as I get a fair hearing, which I have definitely not had throughout in India. “


“Today will not be a rehearing of the initial offence, which when last considered by the RWITC’s board of appeal was reportedly decided on the casting vote of the chairman Adi Narielwala after three of the six-member panel voted for the ban to be set-aside.”

J Margaret Clarke Turfcall Comment:

THE FACTUAL EVIDENCE within this case shows: The filly Ice Age that Dwyer partnered in this race on February 17th 2013 at Mahalaxmi racecourse suffered a burst blood vessel in the closing stages of this race causing Ice Age considerable sufferance she will have felt like she was drowning. This will have frightened Ice Age the reason why she was unable to perform at her best this day in this race. No punter would chance their hard earned cash to back Ice Age if they had known she had this health problem. So why were the punters left in the dark? And why was Dwyer left in the dark as well? Dodgy regulation as this is not good enough, not NEARLY good enough by a long chalk. Regulators  in India and Britain have lost the plot.

That Dwyer is blamed and is being punished is a miscarriage of Equine justice.  Dwyer has been accused and punished for Ice Age’s health problem over the last 9 months.  Dwyer has been put under considerable stress, branded to be some sort of a criminal to suit the Indian and British Turf Club. This is a case of ignorant power abuse and unfair malpractice that has no place whatsoever in Global Horseracing



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