Cheltenham Festival ‘leak’ hands punters ‘unfair advantage’ as Ruby Walsh fumes

Furious Ruby Walsh claimed an information leak has handed some punters an "unfair" advantage before the Cheltenham Festival.

Horse racing punters will descend on the one of British sport's most iconic venues when the famous festival gets under way on March 14.

But a pre-festival controversy has already ensued before the first race after a crucial info leak that supposedly gave well-connected punters the early upper hand.

Those in racing circles are mystified over how secret details of the weights horses are carrying for the nine handicap races were leaked on Tuesday.

The weights of each Cheltenham horse became public knowledge on their official release at the racecourse at a press event on Wednesday.

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But it has transpired that the data on over 600 racehorses somehow got out a day earlier, allowing some informed punters to place early bets.

The British Horse Racing Authority (BHA) handicappers give each horse a rating weight to carry and pass the data onto their administrators, Weatherbys, before it reaches The Jockey Club.

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But it still remains unclear how exactly the data was leaked, with top Cheltenham jockey Walsh exasperated with racing bosses for failing to create a 'level playing field' for punters.

"The weights were actually released behind closed doors on Tuesday by the BHA, etc etc," Walsh told Racing TV. "Some people had a head-start 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!"

Walsh, 43, is adamant the BHA governing body should be held accountable for failing to act with "integrity" and putting some punters at a disadvantage after the leak of the information that they are ultimately responsible for.

He 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."


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