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A professional gambler accused of taking part in a horse doping and betting scam shared a #1 million win just a few weeks ago, a British court heard today.

Jason Moore received part of the winnings of the 'Essex Boys' syndicate, the first punters to win a seven-figure sum on the Tote Scoop6.

The syndicate correctly picked the winners of six races on July 29th, and the Bonus Race winner Dim Sums at Newmarket on August 5th, to split the #1,395,004 prize, London`s Southwark Crown Court heard.

But the jurors trying Moore and four others for allegedly nobbling favourites with the help of a fast-acting sedative called ACP heard his career had its fair share of losses as well.

Matthew Whelan, customer services manager at specialist spread betting firm Sporting Index, where Moore is rated among their top 10 'big stakers', said a touch of nationalistic disloyalty in the Five Nations rugby tournament in March last year cost him dearly.

Backing France to perform well left him#100,000 the poorer in what amounted to his unluckiest day ever.

'Rather unpatriotic,' observed Moore`s QC, Stephen Batten.

'Yes,' agreed Whelan.

In the dock with Moore, 30, of Sands Way, Woodford Green, Essex are Raymond Butler, 52, of Cricklewood Broadway, Cricklewood, north-west London; Adam Hodgson, 37, of Laurell Avenue, Langley, Slough, Berkshire; John Matthews, 36, of Beaumont Court, Post Office Lane, Slough; and Glen Gill, 34, of Highlands Road, Fareham, Hampshire.

They all deny one count of conspiracy to defraud between March 1st and April 1st, 1997.

The Crown claims they were 'members of a team that set out to dope race horses for gain by betting on one or more of the horses who were not doped'.

Richard Whittam, prosecuting, alleged they first targeted Avanti Express, the favourite in a novices handicap hurdle at Exeter. He performed so badly that jockey Jamie Osborne had to pull up the horse.

Next to be nobbled was Lively Knight, who was highly fancied to win a novices chase at Plumpton three weeks later. He came a poor second.

Tests later revealed ACP, acetylpromazine, in both animals.

When he began his evidence today Whelan tried to describe spread betting to the court, likening it to buying and selling shares on the stock market. He spoke 'four point spreads', dealt with 'buying back your bets', and even gave 'partial closures' a mention.

Batten then rose to his feet to ask him about Moore and his rating at Sporting Index.

'He is one of our biggest stakers,' the customer services manager replied. 'I would say in the top 10 and has been since 1996.'

'A professional gambler?' Counsel enquired.

'Yes, a major punter,' he agreed.

In fact Moore was so highly regarded that the firm had granted him `goldline` telephone access 'straight through to the market makers'.

'He knows some of our senior men, our market makers,' Whelan added.

But horse racing was only a 'relatively small part of what he bets on'.

Rugby, football, greyhound racing, tennis, golf, cricket, motor racing, athletics, the Tour de France and 'even darts' had attracted his money from time to time.

He told the court an examination of his account with Sporting Index showed his career was a high risk one featuring major losses as well as big wins.

On the plus side he ended 1998 #100,000 up on the year.

'At Sporting Index`s expense?' asked Batten.

'Yes,' said Whelan.

Then, in September last year, just six months after his expensive miscalculation with the Five Nations tournament he pocketed #86,500 correctly betting on the European Football Championship qualifiers.

Batten: 'Do you have people even better, people who work on larger amounts?'

'Slightly, yes,' Mr Whelan told him. 'But they are few in number.'

Counsel: 'Are they professional gamblers or are they people who do it as a hobby?'

'I am sure there are very rich people who do it as a hobby, but there are professional gamblers as well,' said Sporting Index`s man.

Batten then asked: 'I don`t suppose you know if his account with you is but a fraction of his everyday position.'

'I don`t know,' Whelan said.

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.