This just may be an apocryphal story but it did appear in the august publication British Bloodstock Breeders’ Reviews back in the 1920s! – ‘I wonder if many people know that there is a tipster’s advertisement on the walls of one of the buried suburbs of Herculaneum? The translation runs roughly thus: “For the smallest reward Elvius the charioteer will tell all factions the name of the winning chariots in the races of Rome, and this before the day of the contest.
At Crocus the wine-seller’s near the Gate of Augustus sits Elvius with his secrets. Owners and trainers fearful that closely guarded information, or ‘training reports’, about their horses was being encouraged to leak out by and to ‘certain cheap sporting newspapers’ were persuaded in 1876 by leading owner Prince Batthyany to sign a petition which was then presented to The Jockey Club. The petition read as follows:
This information is largely obtained from Servants, Boys and even Apprentices, who attempted to violate their master’s secrets by an organised staff of paid Horse-watchers and Touts who are, as we believe, maintained at the Chief Training establishments in the country at the expense of those Papers. The results of their efforts is to corrupt and demoralize, and in many cases to cause the discharge and ruin of servants and boys in training stables and a further result the entire destruction of confidence between the employer and the employed.