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The reason for the lengthy absence is that Bradley was warned off for five years in 2004 for passing information to Brian Wright, who was later jailed for 30 years after he was convicted of dealing in cocaine. By then, Bradley had retired from riding, and was running a bloodstock agency, buying horses for former Liverpool footballers Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler amongst others. In 2009, when he was able to participate in the sport again, he resumed that business, and unearthed Desert Cry, a possible runner for Donald McCain and Everton manager David Moyes in the Jewson Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham next month.
Now Bradley has enrolled on the first of three modules making up the programme for people wanting to start up as a trainer. He’ll be at the British Racing School next week. He has had to stump up £2,000 for the privilege, and the fact that the British Horseracing Authority has taken his money suggests that they are a t least prepared to allow him to submit an application for a licence.
Whether he’ll be granted one is another matter entirely. The BHA came in for considerable criticism when they allowed Bradley to ride in the charity race, though Robin Mounsey played a very straight bat when asked about their stance towards the former jockey. He said, “ First time applicants for a licence to train are required to demonstrate or confirm that they meet the established criteria which include, but are not limited to, competence and capability to train, access to appropriate training facilities and that they are otherwise in all the circumstances suitable to hold a licence, i.e. that they are ‘fit and proper’. Any application received by Graham Bradley for a Licence to Train would be treated in this manner. Attendance on the trainers course modules form part of the licence criteria, but in no way does attendance indicates that a licence application will be approved.”
The crux of that is whether he can ever again be viewed a fit and proper person. For many people, Bradley is still the Wayward Lad, the name of one of the great chasers he rode, which he subsequently used as the title of his autobiography. Even if the BHA take the view that he is a suitable person to take out a licence, Bradley still faces the challenge of convincing owners that he will behave honestly in every way before they entrust their horses to his care. That might prove a much more difficult task.