Day At The Track

Another arrest in race-fixing scandal

03:41 AM 09 Apr 2017 NZST
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Bart Cockburn, harness racing
Bart Cockburn

The harness racing race-fixing scandal has widened, with authorities identifying at least two more allegedly fixed races.

Police will allege harness trainer-driver Bart Cockburn, 27, who was charged with four race-fixing offences, was involved in a fix in three separate races from November last year, all at Brisbane’s Albion Park.

Cockburn was alleged to have participated in a fix on November 12 last year, when fellow driver-trainer Dayl March was also alleged to have been involved in an organised race result.

March was charged with the race-fixing offence under the Queensland Criminal Code earlier in the week.

It is understood while both March and Cockburn colluded to win the race on November 12, neither were able to pull off the alleged fix.

The Sunday Mail understands Cockburn’s charges also relate to a November 5 race in which he drove the fourth-placed Marty Bee, and a January 27, 2017, race in which he came second on Major Kiwi.

Authorities say the alleged fixing charges did not always mean the accused was attempting to win the race.

Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett indicated there would be more charges to follow in the coming weeks as the investigation into the fixed races continues to evolve.

“This is an emerging picture,” he said.

“As we talk to more people and arrest more people, it will deepen our understanding of what is going on in the industry.

“Other people will be interviewed and potentially charged in the coming days and weeks.”

Part of the police investigation now and in the future will focus on betting activity that has accompanied the alleged fixing activity, where it may have occurred through either legal or illegal methods.

Bart Cockburn placed 5th in the 2015-16 drivers’ premiership race, steering home 100 winners in his 676 starts.

He amassed a total of more than $870,000 prize money for connections over the premiership season.

By Trenton Akers

Reprinted with permission of The Courier-Mail

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