Day At The Track

Detectives arrest three major identities

09:03 PM 10 Dec 2017 NZDT
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Shane Graham in action at Albion Park
Shane Graham in action at Albion Park

Detectives have smashed a hole in the harness racing industry, arresting three major identities over race fixing including arguably Australia’s best driver.

Shane Graham, Leonard Cain and Vicki Rasmussen were arrested this morning, with the trio charged with match fixing.

Graham, 35, has topped the harness racing industry in Queensland for the past four years, with horses he has driven winning more than $5m in prize money.

He was selected in August this year to represent Australia at the world harness driving championships in Canada.

Horses trained by Rasmussen earned more than $1.6 million in prizemoney from 2015-17.

Graham and Rasmussen are understood to have previously being in a relationship.

The arrests involve detectives from the Queensland Police Racing Crime Squad, assisted by Queensland Racing Integrity Commission stewards.

Detectives allege Race 2 at Albion Park on July 28 was fixed.

Graham won the race on horse Dapper (NZ) and Cain came second, with detectives alleging Cain gave up the lead in the race. Dapper had starting odds of $7.

Rasmussen was the trainer for Cain’s horse January, which had starting odds of $2.90.

Graham and Rasmussen have also been charged with an additional count of match fixing for a race on October 6.

Vicki Rasmussen and Shane Graham

QIRC Commissioner Ross Barnett said three of the top six drivers in Queensland had been charged with race fixing offences in the past six months.

“While it is match fixing, what it really is in its heart is cheating and stealing,” he said.

“These people are stealing prize money from the other participants in races who are honest, hard-working, people who are just seeking a fair go.

“These people are also telling their friends who are betting on these races and reaping significant benefits – that is stealing from the bookmakers who accept those bets in good faith.

“But most importantly they are stealing hope from the participants in the industry who are honest and are trying to do the right thing.”

Mr Barnett said Graham currently led the Queensland driver’s championship and was third in the trainer’s championship.

He said the driving and training licences of Graham would be suspended. Cain would also have his driver licence suspended.

Rasmussen previously held a trainer’s licence but it lapsed this year.

Queensland Police Racing Crime Squad Detective Inspector Mick Dowie said the arrests should be a significant warning to anyone involved in any of the racing codes that they would be caught if involved in match fixing or sharing inside information with betting.

“It’s doesn’t matter who you are, you will be charged and put before the court,” he said.

Insp Dowie said a fourth person was expected to be charged today, who had allegedly been given inside information and made bets with bookmakers.

Mr Barnett said: “We can’t say the activity is rare”.

Graham has been charged with two counts of discloses the knowledge to another about a relevant bet relating to the race at Albion Park on October 6.

He is also charged with two counts of facilitating match-fixing conduct pecuniary benefit relating to a race at Albion Park on July 28 and the race at Albion Park on October 6, and one count of encouraging another person to make a relevant bet relating to the race in July.

Rasmussen, 39, has been charged with two counts of facilitating match-fixing conduct pecuniary benefit relating to the race in July and the race in October.

Cain has been charged with one count of facilitating match-fixing conduct pecuniary benefit relating to the July race.

The arrests follow four others charged with unrelated match fixing offences.

Top harness racing driver Matthew Neilson has been charged with match fixing.

In October, driver Barton Cockburn pleaded guilty to fixing two races.

Stuart Hunter, a former licensed stablehand, has also been charged with fixing two races.

One race was at Albion Park and the other at Globe Derby Park in South Australia.

Harness identify Marshall Dobson was charged with running a fake betting account worth millions of dollars.

The maximum penalty for match fixing is 10 years in jail.

By Thomas Chamberlin, The Courier-Mail

Repriunted with permission of The Courier-Mail

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