On the rare occasions that police are called to make an arrest at a racecourse it is usually because one or two spectators have become a little over excited and started to exchange more than strong words with each other. At Wolverhampton on Monday afternoon it was a little different.
The local constabulary had come to make the acquaintance of jockey Graham Gibbons on behalf of their colleagues in Yorkshire. He had skipped a court appearance in Scarborough last Friday, and his non-appearance meant he had breached his bail conditions.
Finding him was never going to be difficult, as his whereabouts were in many of the papers and all over the racing pages of the internet. Gibbons went quietly, as the saying goes. He will be grateful to the officers from the West Midlands police service, who had the decency to let him finish his day’s work before they took him away, and Gibbons took advantage of that to post a 43/1 double on Singzak and Off The Pulse.
The jockey was due in court to answer charges of being drunk and disorderly in Norton on 8 April, and following an appearance on Tuesday was fined £960 by Scarborough magistrates, with an additional £85 costs and £96 to be paid to his victim in the incident.
This was not the first time Gibbons has been in drink related trouble, and in 2007 he was the first jockey to be found over the limit when breath tested on a racecourse. He was suspended for 35 days for that, and although he is midway through a four-year drink-driving ban, he has had no further problems on the racecourse.
Gibbons is a regular rider for Mick Easterby, and it was the Yorkshire trainer’s Singzak who initiated Monday’s double. Easterby said, “It doesn’t alter anything as long as the fine gets paid. I’ve never had a problem with Graham. I go with him, so am one of the culprits, although I promise to reform him from now on.”