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Skelton ‘relieved’ after revealing outcome of six-year George Gently case

Leading trainer Dan Skelton says he is “relieved” after revealing the supposed outcome of the six-year investigation into the private purchase of a horse called George Gently.

However, the British Horse Racing Authority (BHA) called Skelton’s decision to announce the result in a statement on X on Saturday “an irregular step” and expressed its disappointment that he had gone public “prior to the official sign off of the decision by the judicial panel chair.”

A complaint was made against Skelton in relation to the private sale of George Gently to a syndicate of owners in October 2016. The owners alleged that Skelton owned a secret one-third share in the horse and had received a payment of £42,033 – equivalent to one-third of the purchase price of £130,000 minus a bloodstock agent’s commission plus VAT – from David Futter.

Futter, who denied the allegations, runs the Yorton Stud and was registered as the joint-owner of George Gently. Skelton denied he was a part-owner of the horse and his legal team stated the payment was “in lieu of training fees incurred by Yorton-owned horses in Skelton’s yard”.

Skelton revealed he had been handed a £6,000 fine and said he accepted the independent chair’s “reprimanding and mitigating comments”.

His statement said: “I am relieved that the BHA proceedings against me have come to an end. This has been a very difficult six years and at times I’ve very much needed the support of those around me which was unreservedly given and for which I’m so thankful.

“I have been fined £6,000, and the BHA released this information to me on Thursday night. There is a date amendment to be made in the findings which is why it has not been released publicly. I simply didn’t want to drag this out any longer and the prospect of a first full night sleep in 2,049 days is a happy thought.

“I made a couple of mistakes. The independent chair who scrutinised this case has made both reprimanding and mitigating comments about me and my actions that I accept. I felt it was best to bring this to a conclusion as swiftly as possible for all concerned so l have not challenged the points.

“The BHA have rightly investigated this matter, however it has taken far too long and has had its many costs, both financial and personal. Now this matter is finally concluded, I look forward to getting on with the job I love, which thanks to the unanimous support of my owners, sponsors and staff has continued to thrive despite this hanging over me for so long.”

The BHA added: “There has been a long-established process for the communication of judicial panel decisions. It is based on ensuring fairness for all parties while also providing the opportunity for proper scrutiny of written reasons for a decision by the media and racing public, including of the BHA.

“We anticipate the decision being signed off in the near future and we will comment further at the appropriate time.”

Sky News
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