Man admits threats to top racehorse

A MAN has admitted threatening to harm one of the world's top racehorses based at Sir Michael Stoute's yard in Newmarket.

Colin Adwent

A MAN has admitted threatening to harm one of the world's top racehorses based at Sir Michael Stoute's yard in Newmarket.

Andrew Rodgerson was originally charged with blackmail, but denied the offence.

However, when he appeared at Bolton Crown Court he pleaded guilty to threatening to damage or destroy property.

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The 26-year-old admitted an indictment that read, between July 15 and July 20 this year he made threats to Peter Reynolds to destroy property, namely the racehorse Conduit belonging to Peter Reynolds. These intended that Peter Reynolds would fear that the they would be carried out.

Rodgerson will now have to return to Bolton Crown Court on January 4 for sentencing.

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At the time of his arrest Rodgerson is alleged to have been behind menacing text messages and e-mails involving Conduit, which won the $3million Breeders' Cup Turf in America on November 7 for the second consecutive year.

The allegations were originally said to relate to the days leading up to the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on July 25, for which Conduit was the favourite.

The four-year-old, which has a stud value of up to �5million, still ran and went on to win the race, netting more than �500,000 in prize money.

Rodgerson, of Craiglands, Rochdale, was charged with blackmail on August 7. He was released on bail until his first appearance before Rochdale Magistrates' Court on August 26.

During the build-up to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes it was understood that discussions were held between Sir Michael Stoute and the integrity department of the British Horseracing Authority to ensure the horse's safety.

The BHA is said to have laid on increased security during the horse's journey to Ascot and when he was stabled at the racecourse.

Mr Reynolds, the general manager of Ireland's Ballymacoll Stud, in whose ownership the horse runs, is said to have contacted the police after receiving the alleged threats.

A subsequent investigation involved the co-operation of the Suffolk and Greater Manchester police forces.

A spokeswoman for Sir Michael Stoute's stable declined to comment on the case yesterday.

Conduit will be retired to stud after finishing fourth in the Japan Cup in Tokyo on Sunday .

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