Limerick vet to deny wrongdoing over bets on horses in the UK to lose

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

It is understood Mr Collins will deny all wrongdoing and has instructed a firm of solicitors to defend any charges against him.

It is understood Mr Collins will deny all wrongdoing and has instructed a firm of solicitors to defend any charges against him.

A COUNTY Limerick vet is due to appear before a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) hearing this summer, it is understood.

According to The Sunday Times, the BHA alleges Pius Collins, from Athea, obtained and used inside information from a stable yard to place bets on horses not to win.

It is understood Mr Collins will deny all wrongdoing and has instructed a firm of solicitors to defend any charges against him.

There was no reply at Mr Collins’ veterinary practice’s telephone number from the Limerick Leader this week to request a comment. The automated message said the mailbox is full and cannot accept new messages at this time.

The yard in question is David Pipe’s – son of Martin Pipe, one of the most successful jumps trainers in British Racing History. The BHA is satisfied that Pipe had no involvement or knowledge of the matters that are under investigation.

The BHA investigation is focusing on a series of suspicious bets, totalling thousands of euros, which Mr Collins wagered on horses from Pond House, which is in the countryside on the Devon-Somerset border in England. The bets were placed on Betfair, the online gambling exchange where you can either back a horse to win, or lay it if you don’t think the horse will be first past the post.

The nature of the online bets, placed in 2013, attracted the attention of Betfair’s compliance department, which regarded them as “suspicious”. Betfair reported them to the BHA which commenced an investigation. An examination of Mr Collins’s Betfair account established there were sufficient grounds to believe he had access to “inside information”.

The BHA inquiry is said to have identified a person whom they suspect provided information to Mr Collins on the condition of various horses and their likely performance at race meetings over a protracted period of time.

Mr Collins is the second Irish vet to fall under suspicion for involvement in alleged betting irregularities in recent months. Tim Brennan, a vet from Kilkenny who works for champion trainer Willie Mullins, was last month charged with passing inside information about an injury to the racehorse Faugheen before the Champion Hurdle in 2016. Mr Mullins has no connection with the BHA investigation, which again was first revealed by The Sunday Times.

The charges against  Brennan followed a 27-month investigation by the BHA after suspicious bets totalling thousands of euros were laid on the horse not being fit to run at Cheltenham.

It is alleged the bets were placed by  Brennan’s brother Michael, who has already been banned from attending race meetings or associating with trainers by the BHA.

Like Collins, Brennan has denied the allegations being made against him.