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British racehorse trainer, blacksmith cleared of race-fixing

LONDON - A racehorse trainer and a blacksmith were cleared of race-fixing charges on Friday in a case connected to the aborted trial of Kieren Fallon.

LONDON - A racehorse trainer and a blacksmith were cleared of race-fixing charges on Friday in a case connected to the aborted trial of Kieren Fallon.

A month after a judge halted the trial against Fallon and cleared the six-time champion jockey of all charges, trainer Alan Berry and blacksmith Steven O'Sullivan heard prosecutors say the two cases were part of the same investigation and that there is no longer a realistic chance of conviction.

Berry and O'Sullivan had been accused of trying to cheat by putting a horse in a race when it was lame or unfit. They pleaded not guilty to a charge of betting on a filly named Hillside Girl to lose a race at Carlisle on June 15, 2003.

Fallon's trial at the same Old Bailey court was halted Dec. 7 when the judge threw the case out for lack of evidence. The prosecution had spent two months making its case.

Fallon, two more jockeys and three other men were alleged to have plotted to stop 27 horses from winning races between December 2002 and August 2004, defrauding customers of online gambling exchange Betfair and other bettors.

However, Fallon still faces a ban over his second positive test for cocaine in France. Fallon, who served a six-month doping ban from December 2006 to June 2007, is awaiting an investigation and could be suspended for up to 18 months.

 
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