Day At The Track

Rose City racing identity arrested

06:32 AM 08 Apr 2017 NZST
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Daryl March
Daryl March

A Warwick man has been arrested in relation to what authorities have called a "loose cartel" of harness racing drivers and trainers involved in race fixing in Queensland.

Trainer-driver Dayl March, 46 from Warwick, was this week arrested and charged with race fixing.

It relates to Race 2 at Albion Park on November 12 last year, where it will be alleged March organised corruptly the outcome of that race.

The 46-year-old was arrested following search warrants carried out by detectives from the Queensland Racing Crime Squad, attached to the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

In a press conference this morning, Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker said March has had his licence suspended and was due to face Brisbane Magistrates Court on May 10.

"This is the first time an arrest has been made in relation to race fixing in harness racing in Queensland and further arrests are expected to be made," he said.

"Once a person is charged with an offence relating to match fixing, their licence is automatically suspended.

"The commission then has the power to suspend their licence for life."

The maximum penalty for race fixing - a recent addition to the Queensland Criminal Code - is 10 years imprisonment.

In the past week, police have visited properties of five harness racing participants in Warwick, The Gap, Logan Village, Redcliffe and Limestone Ridges as part of the joint investigation between the QRIC, Crime and Corruption Commission and Queensland Police.

Detectives seized mobile phones, computers, documents and clothing that will now be forensically examined.

Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said the investigation started just weeks after the commission was formed in July last year.

"This has been a long- running investigation that highlights the importance of inter-agency co-operation," Mr Barnett said.

"The investigation has identified a loose cartel of drivers and trainers involved in systemic race fixing ... who decide who will win the race and how they will win it.

"We are not talking every race or even every race meeting, but certainly more than one race - it is more frequent than it is rare."

Mr Barnett said there was no suggestion there was any involvement of stewards in race fixing and urged anyone aware of misconduct to come forward. 

Darling Downs Harness Racing Club president Anthony Collins declined to comment. 

Warwick Turf Club president Phil Grant said it was a shock to learn of the arrest this morning.

"Though harness racing is separate to the thoroughbred racing, it's definitely not something we want to see Warwick in the news for," Mr Grant said.

"It's not something I've ever seen before - I can't think of the last time there's been an allegation (of race fixing) in the thoroughbred industry. 

"Racing Queensland brought in the commission to enforce the regulation and ensure no one is able to fix a race so now it's up to the courts to decide whether he's done the wrong thing."

Mr Barnett said the commission ultimately hoped to improve confidence in the racing industry as a result of the investigation.

"We think this could have a short term negative impact on confidence in the sport but in the long-term I believe this will be of benefit to the industry," he said.

"This is solely the fault of the greedy and corrupt people who have participated in match fixing who have damaged the sport they participate in and claim to love.

"I believe dealing with these issues will eventually lead to increased wagering confidence in the industry."

Reprinted with permission of  The Warick Daily News

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