JAMES HORTON has quit as private trainer to controversial owner John Dance.
He will oversee the running of Dance's yard in Middleham until the end of the season before relocating to Newmarket.
Racing was stunned when it emerged that Dance, owner of multiple Group 1 winner Laurens and big-race sponsor, was at the centre of a £80million criminal investigation.
He had his assets frozen as a result of a probe by the Financial Conduct Authority in April, meaning all activity at his stable was halted.
Horton, formerly assistant to Sir Michael Stoute, was allowed to run his horses in June under the banner of Coverdale Stud and Titanium Racing after the BHA struck a deal with the FCA, and he has had six winners since then.
But the stable was again forced to stop sending out runners when the BHA announced this week a block on all horses in the ownership of Coverdale and Titanium Racing, as well as any in Dance’s name.
Dance's horses were suspended from running by the BHA this week due to concerns raised within its integrity department about the alleged non-payment of funds to Titanium Racing Club members.
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The concerns are understood to relate to the sale of Sacred Angel by the Titanium Racing Club to Kazakh owner-breeder Nurlan Bizakov in July, and the payment of any proceeds to those involved in the club.
The "interim action" to suspend the horses from running was taken directly by the BHA rather than under instruction from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), with whom the BHA has been working closely since a £40 million freezing order on Dance's assets was secured in the high court in April.
It has been a nightmare year for Horton and his staff, so he has decided to start afresh at Flat racing HQ.
He told the Racing Post: “I’ll stay here to look after the horses until the end of the season and the plan then is to move to Newmarket.
"We’ve got a few options, nothing has been decided as yet. It’s all up in the air at the moment and we’ll be working hard to get it sorted for next year.
“It’s not been a straightforward year but I’ve got to take my hat off to the staff, everyone has stuck by me.
“In the last few weeks the horses have started to run really well. But there you go – there are none we are allowed to run now. It is what it is.”
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