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A Shelbourne harness racing trainer has been fined $20,000 for his role in fixing three races in country Victoria in 2014. Larry Eastman, 60, was sentenced in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to five dishonesty offences. A magistrate said Eastman’s conduct reflected poorly on the honest and hard working people of the local harness racing industry. Eastman came to police attention during their investigation of Mildura father-and-son harness racing figures Shayne and Greg Cramp, when Eastman was involved in intercepted phone calls. His conduct involved using the technique of drenching, involving placing a tube down the horse’s throat and adding a mixture of alkalising agents, sodiums and bicarbonate – illegal within 48 hours of a race as it gives horses an unfair advantage. Eastman was aware that the horse Cashiking was drenched four hours before Race 7 at Nyah at Swan Hill on December 2, 2014. Cashiking’s odds shortened from $35 the day before to $8.50 after a “noticeable betting plunge”. Two Queensland men bet on Eastman’s behalf in an attempt to disguise his betting activity. Cashiking won the race, and the associates of Eastman won $22,110. Eastman drenched the horse Waterslide three to five hours before Race 5 at Charlton on December 8, 2014. He planned for the horse to win the race, but not as “convincingly” as it did. The horse was held back for a blood test by stewards. Eastman attempted to inject potassium to mask the effects of drenching, but knocked the syringe down the back of the horse stall. An associate of Eastman managed to inject Waterslide.  Eastman pictured with Menin Gate in 2015.    Eastman told the associate that what they did “goes to your grave”. He also said the syringe would be found in 2060 when they are “pulling the joint down”. Eastman placed a successful $200 bet at three-to-one for a profit of $400. Almost three years later, detectives found the syringe in the stall. Eastman then told an associate to drench the horse Dynamite Dick three hours before Race 5 at Horsham on December 15, 2014. The associate was driving another horse, which was the favourite for the race. He was instructed to allow Dynamite Dick to win. Eastman told his Queensland associate that the horse would be “getting a bit of help”. Eastman bet $200 on the race. His associates won a combined $13,655. Three days later, Eastman arranged to make a number of losing bets in an attempt to hide his betting activity. Detectives started investigating Eastman at the time, but took more than three years before charges were laid. Eastman has since surrendered his racing licence after being involved in harness racing for 44 years. No one else involved in the race fixing has been subject to criminal charges. Defence counsel Robert Timms said Eastman fixed the races after encountering financial difficulty in 2014, and claimed he only had $400 left in his account for Christmas. No documents were tendered to court to prove his financial status at the time. Mr Timms said it was unfortunate because in 2015 Eastman had a number of group 1 winners. “The bizarre thing is that he engaged in this corrupt activity, and appears to have obtained less than $2000 out of it,” he said. “We have a man who has lead an exemplary life up until this time of extreme financial hardship. “He has now lost the opportunity for him to work within the industry, the only industry he has ever worked in.” Prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Alan Walker said a prison term was within range for the offending. Magistrate Patrick Southey said the offending put the public’s faith in harness racing at risk. “If the public say ‘I don’t trust it, I’ve had enough of it, I’ll follow another sport,’ all those innocent hard working people will be impacted,” he said. “I’m sure you will accept that the racing industry employs a lot of good people. Honest and hard-working, with a genuine love of horses. “Their livelihoods will be put at risk if the public turn their back on it.” Eastman was convicted and fined $20,000, with $122.30 in court costs. By Adam Holmes Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

It would not be Christmas without a message. As we come to the end of the calendar year, most harness racing participants would be considering the effect that the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission has had on harness in recent months. With a number of leading lights arrested for "race fixing” and allied activities in recent months, there is division in the ranks. Not all are grateful for a process which is aimed at cleaning up a sport. The "nay sayers” called for more prizemoney and complained bitterly at the cost of QRIC, claiming that the funds involved would be better spent being funnelled into the pockets of the handful of trainers who had been getting the lions share for the past two decades. The recent election delivered the opposition promise to emasculate QRIC should they be returned to power. Enough said. Anyone with recollections of night trotting years ago will agree as to the superiority of the spectacle. If QRIC can provide us with a squeaky clean product, and our administrators with a punter friendly racing format, then we will have the Christmas present of our dreams. Harness participants will have the opportunity to rebuild harness to a stage where punters will happily bet on it, come to watch it in the flesh and a reasonable number will develop an interest in owning, training and driving. There is the message. Narissa's reward GLAMORGANVALE based trainer/driver Narissa McMullen has added another trophy to the cabinet, taking out the Australian Young Driver's Championship conducted at Recliffe and Albion Park last week. McMullen finished the series on 96 points, seven clear of Dylan Ferguson (New Zealand) on 89. Chris Geary (NSW) finished with 75 in third, while Jason Lee (Victoria) ended on 72 points. McMullen's series got off to a flier on the opening night when she won the opening two heats at Redcliffe to take the early series lead. Ferguson and Sheree Tomlinson claimed the next two heats for the Kiwis, before Lee and Geary took maximum points on the second night. McMullen made it another double on the final night, leading all the way on Parisian Rockstar at Albion on Saturday, with Lee and Jayden Brewin (South Australia) collecting wins ahead of the final. The win meant McMullen had followed the footsteps of her renowned father John McMullen, who won the 1986 Inter Dominion Young Drivers Series. He beat a star-studded field which featured the likes of Mark Purdon and Anthony Butt, whose daughter Kimberly Butt represented New Zealand in the 2017 event. "(Dad) always talks about it,” McMullen laughed. "It was good to be able to say 'now I've got a win too'. The family was really excited.” Vital new role THE Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner has announced the appointment of a new Director of Licensing and Stewarding - Ali Wade. "Ms Wade has acted in the role in a relieving capacity for much of the past year after transitioning to the Commission as Manager of Licensing and Registration,'' Commissioner Ross Barnett said. "Prior to that, she worked at Racing Queensland in several senior management roles including Senior Manager of Stewarding and Integrity Operations after joining that organisation in 2006.'' The Director of Licensing and Stewarding is tasked with overseeing the work of 35 stewards across Queensland and the licensing and registration teams. "Ms Wade comes to the role at a time of significant change in the racing industry, including greater community expectations for the welfare of animals and the integrity of the three codes of thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing,” Barnett said. Wade said she was looking forward to ensuring Queensland's racing industry maintained the highest standards for integrity and animal welfare. "This is a great honour and I'd like to give special mention to the support I have received from the chief stipendiary steward for thoroughbreds Mr Allan Reardon,” Wade said. Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: Quinella 1-3: Chapter One (T Dixon). and Polished Rocks). R2: Box trifecta 1-2-8: Nui Toc Tien (C. Petroff)-Rate Highly (N McMullen)-Mojo Major (G Dixon). R3: Quinella 3-4: Young American and Long Road To Fame (A Sanderson). R4: Quinella 1-5: Franco Revel (C Hart) and Chal Fire (K Dawson). R5: Quinella 1-7: Arrokeefe (N McMulen) and Jakes A Joy (G Dixon). R6: Box trifecta 5-8-11: Feel The Courage (C Turpin)- Catcha Lefty (C Cini)- Avonnova (Mark Dux). R7: E/w 8: Overlap (C Turpin). R8: quinella 4-5: Midnight Prowler (N McMullen) and Pompidou (G Dixon). R9: Quinella 2-6: Our Diamond Edition (A Millard) and Heavens Hint (P McMullen). R10: Box trifecta 1-5-6: Its All Go (M Elkins)-Baltic Blue Eyes (A Gorman)-Shadow Pass (B Graham). R11: Box trifecta 3-4-9: Twice As Much (Wayne Graham)-Stoned Again (C Petroff)-Releven Dream (P McMullen). Honour board Trainers shared the success this week with Greg Elkins, Chantal Turpin, Ron Sallis, Bill Crosby and Jason Carkeet with two winners apiece. On the driver's side, Narissa McMullen nosed out dead heaters Pete McMullen, Matt Elkins and Gary Whitaker scoring five to four. Narissa was most pleasing as well, winning a national championship. Albion Park, December 15: Always My Mate (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Maretti (Chris McGeary for Phil Mitchell); Firebby (Danielle McMullen for Chris Monte); Seven Rippin Aces (Kelli Dawson for Jamie Donovan); Govinni (Hayden Barnes for Al Barnes). Albion Park, December 16: Parisian Rockstar (Narissa McMullen for Peter Greig); Mojo Major (Narissa McMullen for Kerryann Turner); Platinum Art (Matt Elkins for Kay Crone); Village Witch (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini). Marburg, December 16: Living Free (Justin Pascoe for Phil Keats); Cheyenne Warrior (Matt Elkins for Richard Hutchin- son); Riverleigh Jeff (Gary Whitaker for Tess Neaves); Elzboy (Adam Richardson for Steve Towns); Its All Go (Matt Elkins); Lots More Grins (Hayden Barnes for Wayne Davis); How We Roll (GaryWhitaker for Bill Crosby). Albion Park, December 19: Likes To Rock (Gary Whitaker for Vic Frost); Gloveman Gilly (Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins); Sicilian Slumber (Danielle McMullen for Lachie Manzelmaan); Comply Or Die (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis); Yankee Strutter (Trent Dawson for Max Towns). Redcliffe, December 20: My Mojo (Danielle McMullen for Jason Carkeet); Vader (Dan Russell); Cotton Cold Candy (Pete McMullen for Jason Carkeet); Georgia Grace (Adam Sanderson for Shawn Grimsey); Heavens Hurricane (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin). Redcliffe, December 21: Tascott Lady (Taleah McMullen for John McMullen); How We Roll (Gary Whitaker for Bill Crosby); Cryptic Chance (Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins); Monkseaton (Chris Petroff for Jay Edmunds); Mista Natural (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Punters Delight (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis). by TROT TACTICS with Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

A Shelbourne harness racing trainer has pleaded guilty to his role in fixing three races in country Victoria in 2014, two of which involved his own horses. Larry Eastman, 60, pleaded guilty in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Thursday to five charges including use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes, and engaging in conduct to corrupt a betting outcome. The court heard Eastman had nasogastric intubation – known as “stomach tubing” or “drenching” – administered to two of his horses within 48 hours of race meets, and knew of a third horse that was illegally receiving the technique. The technique is illegal within 48 hours of races as it can enhance performance through improved rehydration. It involves placing a tube down the throat of the horse and adding a mixture of alkalising agents, sodiums and bicarbonate. Eastman then encouraged others to bet on the races on his behalf, knowing that the horses had this advantage. His horse Cashiking was administered stomach tubing before race 7 at Nyah at Swan Hill on December 2, 2014. Related: Integrity commissioner tackles corruption in harness racing industry Eastman administered stomach tubing to another of his horses, Waterslide, for race 5 at Charlton on December 8, 2014. Eastman then had the driver inject the horse with potassium a short time after the race to conceal the effects of stomach tubing from Harness Racing Victoria authorities. Eastman personally gained $400 from betting $200 on the three-to-one result. Eastman also knew that horse Dynamite Dick had been administered stomach tubing before race 5 at Horsham on December 15, 2014. He had two other men bet on his behalf. Eastman came to the attention of police during their investigation into Shayne and Greg Cramp, of Mildura, who were later sentenced in relation to race fixing offences. Police intercepted a phone call between Eastman and one of the men, and suspected Eastman was also involved in “corrupt conduct”. The practice of stomach tubing, or drenching, has been the subject of “strict controls” for racing worldwide. Defence counsel Robert Timms said Eastman’s offending was small compared to others in the harness racing industry. “My client, as part of the plea, was a small fish in a much bigger pond,” he said. “The co-accused in Mildura were involved in far more.” Mr Timms said he would be asking the court to sentence Eastman to a community corrections order, or a fine. Eastman will be sentenced in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on February 2. By Adam Holmes Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

Three people alleged to be involved in a harness racing fixing scandal at Cobram more than two years ago will have to wait until next year to find out the outcome of the case against them. Nathan Jack, Mark Pitt and Lisa Bartley yesterday faced Shepparton Magistrates’ Court for the 13th and final day of a contested hearing. Magistrate John Murphy decided to receive final written submissions from the prosecution and defence out of court. ‘‘I’m satisfied there is a case to answer against all of the accused,’’ he said. Yesterday, Gary Hevey attempted to re-open the prosecution’s case after taking instructions from higher authorities. ‘‘A situation has arisen, I have been asked to re-open the prosecution case,’’ he said. Mr Murphy ruled Victoria Police telephone intercepts admissible this week. ‘‘Those instructing me have taken a different view,’’ Mr Hevey said. ‘‘They say I should re-open the prosecution case for utilising telephone intercepts post-offending. (I) propose for your honour to rule admissible the telephone intercepts and material post-offending.’’ Mr Jack’s lawyer Anthony Lewis said none of the telephone intercepts were ‘‘admissible to incriminating conduct’’. ‘‘It will prolong the proceeding,’’ he argued. Mr Murphy agreed, saying it would lengthen the case, querying the need for the telephone intercepts as the crown already had numerous text messages admitted into evidence. ‘‘(What is) the relevance of this further material? It would extend the case by at least one or two days,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t allow the prosecution to re-open the case.’’ The court case was adjourned about noon yesterday, with a ruling set to be made on the three accused in April. HEARING SUMMARY Nathan Jack, Amanda Turnbull, Mark Pitt and Lisa Bartley pleaded not guilty to charges of engaging in, facilitating and possessing knowledge and/or information about conduct that corrupts a betting outcome. The charges relate to an allegedly fixed race at Cobram on June 22, 2015, after which an investigation was launched into the tactics adopted during the event and information provided to Harness Racing Victoria on the stabling arrangements of a horse. Of the accused, only Mr Jack and Mr Pitt took part in the race. Prosecutors allege Mr Jack, driving Tooram Lad, allowed Airbournemagic, driven by Mr Pitt, to win the race. The court has heard from representatives who have spoken about betting patterns before the race, while the father of Ms Bartley was excused from giving evidence against his daughter. Earlier in the hearing, Harness Racing Victoria evidence was thrown out and not used during the hearing as it was found to be involuntarily obtained. The hearing started on Monday, November 27, in front of Magistrate John Murphy and entered its third week on Monday. This week, charges against previous co-accused Ms Turnbull were dismissed. By Hayden Thomson  

All the charges relating to Amanda Turnbull’s alleged involvement in a Cobram race fixing scandal were dismissed in court yesterday, after prosecution and defence lawyers came to an agreement. Within the first few minutes of yesterday’s proceedings in the contested hearing, which is in its third week at Shepparton Magistrates’ Court, prosecutor Gary Hevey asked Magistrate John Murphy to dismiss the charges against Ms Turnbull. ‘‘In relation to Ms Turnbull, the crown is not going to present further evidence,’’ he said. ‘‘I invite your honour to dismiss the charges against her.’’ Mr Murphy agreed, dismissing the charges against Ms Turnbull due to a lack of evidence. With that, Ms Turnbull and her family and friends stood up and left the court room in silence. Lisa Bartley’s defence lawyer Rohan Laurence then submitted to the court his client had no case to answer — as there was a ‘‘hole’’ in the prosecution case. He said this was on the grounds that Ms Bartley’s conduct did not directly affect the outcome of the race as she was not a driver of Airbournemagic, Tooram Lad, or any other horse in the race in question. ‘‘None of Ms Bartley’s conduct occurs in the race,’’ Mr Laurence told the court. ‘‘But instead occurs in a period of one month before the race. (Her) conduct does not relate to the event or the running of the event, her conduct had no bearing on the result of the race. ‘‘Significantly, it is not alleged (by the prosecution) that it did.’’ Mr Hevey argued that if betting agencies knew Airbournemagic was being trained at well-known harness racing driver Nathan Jack’s place, as Ms Bartley knew, the odds would have been different. ‘‘(There was) no other purpose than to keep the odds long, it continued during the race when Mr Bartley’s (David Bartley, Lisa Bartley’s father) colours were used,’’ Mr Hevey said. Mr Jack’s defence lawyer, Anthony Lewis, adopted the submissions made by Mr Laurence in relation to his client’s charges. ‘‘There is no evidence to support the allegation (that) ... conduct would inflate betting odds of Airbournemagic,’’ he said. Mr Lewis then claimed Mr Jack was a less successful trainer than David Bartley. ‘‘There is now evidence that, had the regulated betting agencies known Mr Jack was the trainer, that would not have made any difference ... to the odds.’’ Yesterday, Mr Murphy made a ruling to include admissions made in Victoria Police interviews, after defence lawyers submitted they be dismissed. The hearing continues. HEARING SUMMARY Nathan Jack, Amanda Turnbull, Mark Pitt and Lisa Bartley have pleaded not guilty to charges of engaging in, facilitating and possessing knowledge and/or information about conduct that corrupts a betting outcome. The charges relate to an allegedly fixed race at Cobram on June 22, 2015, after which an investigation was launched into the tactics adopted during the event and information provided to Harness Racing Victoria on the stabling arrangements of a horse. Of the four accused, only Mr Jack and Mr Pitt took part in the race. Prosecutors allege Mr Jack, driving Tooram Lad, allowed Airbournemagic, driven by Mr Pitt, to win the race. The court has heard from representatives who have spoken about betting patterns before the race, while the father of Ms Bartley was excused from giving evidence against his daughter. Earlier in the hearing, Harness Racing Victoria evidence was thrown out and not used during the hearing as it was found to be involuntarily obtained. The hearing started on Monday, November 27, in front of Magistrate John Murphy and entered its third week on Monday. Yesterday, charges against Ms Turnbull were dismissed. by Hayden Thomson Reprinted with permission of The Sheppaton News

A man accused of lying to a Queensland corruption watchdog investigation into harness racing match-fixing has been charged with perjury as the cheating scandal around the industry continues. The 35-year-old, who was charged with match-fixing in November, is accused of lying to the Crime and Corruption Commission about his participation in match- fixing conduct and the release of inside information. His perjury charges come after Queensland’s championship-leading driver and prominent industry identity Shane Robert Graham and another of the state’s top harness racing drivers, Leonard Cain, were charged on Sunday in relation to the long-running sting. Graham has been charged with two counts of disclosing the knowledge to another about a relevant bet, two counts of facilitating match-fixing conduct for a pecuniary benefit and one count of encouraging another person to make a relevant bet. Shane Graham at the Beenleigh watchhouse. Photo Annette Dew The alleged cheating operation was at the time likened by Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett to organised crime. The allegations of match-fixing centre on two races at Albion Park in July and October. On Monday, a 65-year-old man was charged over allegations he knew of a match-fixing arrangement when he put bets on a race. Those charged under the ongoing investigation into major and organised crime around racing circles remain before the courts. “The Queensland racing crime squad will pursue all information received regarding match-fixing and criminal conduct across all codes of racing,” Detective Inspector Mick Dowie said on Tuesday. Reprinted with the permission of The Courier Mail

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

A champion harness racing figure accused of serious corruption has been caught telling a worker of plans to “pull up” his horse the day before a race in which his associates allegedly won thousands of dollars. The alleged admission by Shepparton driver Nathan Jack was made in a text to stable­hand Lisa Bartley, hours before the allegedly rigged race in Cobram on June 22, 2015. Mr Jack, Ms Bartley and fellow co-accused racing ­identities Mark Pitt and Amanda Turnbull have each pleaded not guilty to corrupting the race’s betting outcome. It is alleged Mr Jack and fellow driver Mr Pitt manipulated the race by allowing Airborne Magic to win, after Mr Jack “pulled up” his horse, Tooram Lam. Police also alleged the racehorse had been secretly trained at a more elite facility before the race, creating unfair betting odds. Shepparton Magistrates’ Court on Thursday heard Mr Jack texted Ms Bartley a day before the race: “I’m pulling up that horse tomorrow.” A month later, a seemingly distressed Ms Bartley told him they could “never use one of Dad’s horses again”. “When we took Metro (nickname for Airborne Magic), Dad said he didn’t want anything to do with him, and any money he won, I was to have,” said Ms Bartley in a text read in court. “I rang him before to get him to take the money to Echuca, but he has already spent it.” The court heard Ms Bartley declined an offer of money by Mr Jack, who replied: “If it wasn’t one of yours, we wouldn’t have got anything.” Mr Jack later told Ms Bartley police “have nothing and can’t use phone taps” when discussing the probe via text in October. He was also heard telling his girlfriend, Ms Turnbull, how to answer police questions about the race. “If they interview us again, say you don’t remember anything. That’s what I’ll be saying,” he said in an intercepted phone call played in court. The Herald Sun previously reported as much as $30,000 was won by figures connected to the “Cobram Crew”. A probe was launched after a series of bets dramatically lowered Airborne Magic’s odds shortly before the race. During her police interview, Ms Bartley confessed to winning about $2000 on the race. The court heard Ms Turnbull admitted telling her brother, Nathan, to bet on Airborne Magic. He allegedly pocketed $2600. Ms Turnbull denied she backed Airborne Magic and made more than $2200. The accused foursome faces up to 10 years’ jail. The hearing continues next week. By Aneeka Simonis - Herald Sun Reprinted with permission of The Daily Telegraph  

A 69-year-old Brisbane man has been charged over allegations of harness racing match-fixing. Police say the man rigged the outcome of harness races at Albion Park in Brisbane and Globe Derby Park in Adelaide, and fraudulently purchased harness racing horses while disqualified from any involvement in racing. The Redcliffe man was charged on Wednesday with match-fixing, fraud and receiving tainted property, and will appear in the Redcliffe Magistrates Court on January 8. He is the fourth person to be charged with match-fixing offences as part of a joint investigation by the Queensland Racing Crime Squad and the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission. Reprinted with permission of The West Australian

Harness Racing Victoria evidence, set to be a key piece in the prosecution case against four alleged race fixers, was thrown out in court yesterday. Nathan Jack, Amanda Turnbull, Mark Pitt and Lisa Bartley faced Shepparton Magistrates’ Court yesterday for the second day of a hearing, accused of conduct that corrupts a betting outcome. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges. It comes after an investigation into a race at Cobram on June 22, 2015, which Airbournemagic won. Lawyers for the accused objected to evidence Harness Racing Victoria gathered, including the downloading of phone data and certain answers given to racing stewards. ‘‘These pieces of evidence should be excluded,’’ Mr Jack’s defence lawyer Anthony Lewis told the court. ‘‘My focus is on (the) question of unfairness to the accused ... circumstances unfair to the defendant.’’ Mr Lewis said stewards met Mr Jack on his property, asked him questions and he was forced to answer them and was told if he did not — would have committed an offence. ‘‘If they don’t comply, they will be likely charged and their livelihoods at stake,’’ he said. ‘‘It is a compulsory, involuntary process ... they can refuse to answer or provide the phone, but they would only do so knowing disqualification would be inevitable. ‘‘If an admission is involuntary, then it’s inadmissible. Has the evidence been obtained by compulsion? If it has, it ought to be excluded.’’ Mr Lewis added the defendants complied with the stewards’ inquiry for the sole purpose of the stewards’ inquiry. ‘‘(They) never signed an agreement that they’re waiving their rights,’’ he said. ‘‘Never told the answers would be given to police, that’s not in the rules.’’ Prosecutor Gary Hevey disagreed, arguing the four voluntarily signed up to be involved with Harness Racing Victoria, to be bound by the rules, meaning they knew the consequences. ‘‘This was a voluntary association ... people can choose to be members or participate in the harness racing industry,’’ he told the court. ‘‘They chose to belong and in doing so they must submit to the rules of this voluntary association. ‘‘At the interviews it was open for each of the persons being questioned to respond with I don’t want to play any more ... it was open for them to say no.’’ Magistrate John Murphy said while the consequences of refusing to comply with a steward’s request did not include jail time, the consequences certainly included the defendants’ racing licence and as a consequence their professional livelihood. ‘‘One of the basis of our rule of law is that a person has the right to remain silent,’’ he said. ‘‘The accused has a fundamental right to remain silent and they can’t under HRV unless they wish to suffer penalties outlined. ‘‘It would be unfair to an accused to use the evidence ... and a denial of natural justice. ‘‘My ruling is I do not intend to allow the evidence to be given.’’ On Monday, the court heard about the alleged tactics adopted during the race, with prosecution outlining allegations Mr Jack, on Tooram Lad, allegedly allowed Airbournemagic, who Mr Pitt drove, to win the race. Representatives from different betting agencies including Bet365, Ladbrokes and Victoria Police are set to give evidence, with the prosecution saying ‘‘thousands and thousands of dollars’’ were allegedly returned from profits. The hearing continues. The race in question By HAYDEN THOMSON Reprinted with permission of The Shepparton News

Four alleged race fixers are pleading not guilty to all charges relating to a harness racing event at Cobram in 2015. Champion driver Nathan Jack, his partner Amanda Turnbull and Avenel pair Mark Pitt and Lisa Bartley faced Shepparton Magistrates’ Court yesterday. The four accused have been charged with conduct that corrupts a betting outcome among other offences, after an investigation into the tactics adopted during a race on June 22, 2015 — which Airbournemagic won. Separate lawyers represented each defendant, as prosecutor Gary Hevey read out a case summary to a packed courtroom. ‘‘This case alleges corruption,’’ he told the court. ‘‘Using corrupt information for betting purposes ... it relates to the stabling, training and racing of a horse known as Airbournemagic and its winning of race four in Cobram. ‘‘In particular, allegations relate to information in possession of defendants ... the likely performance of Airbournemagic and failing to provide that information to Harness Racing Victoria.’’ Mr Hevey briefly outlined details of the charges to Magistrate John Murphy and outlined the role Harness Racing Victoria played in the sport. Court documents The News obtained told how Airbournemagic was allegedly at the stables of Ms Turnbull, a highly-regarded trainer, and Mr Jack, an experienced driver. But the details given to Harness Racing Victoria said Airbournemagic was at the stables of another person in Congupna. Due to the incorrect information allegedly given to Harness Racing Victoria, this increased the odds betting agencies set. ‘‘There are numerous messages which have been seized and downloaded in relation to the case,’’ Mr Hevey told the court. Prosecution is set to bring forward numerous witnesses from different betting agencies to give evidence, including representatives from Bet365, Ladbrokes and a Victoria Police financial analyst. The court heard how based on Airbournemagic being stabled at the Congupna address, Bet365 opened the betting ahead of the June 22, 2015 race at $35. Airbournemagic eventually jumped at just $4.80 with ‘‘thousands and thousands of dollars’’ returned from profits, Mr Hevey will allege. When Mr Jack took to the track with his horse Tooram Lad, he allegedly allowed Airbournemagic, which was close behind him for much of the race, to win. During the race, it is alleged Mr Jack was ‘‘overtly and continually looking behind his shoulder’’ at Airbournemagic, which Mr Pitt drove, for much of the race. Footage is set to be tendered to the court this week, with the trial estimated to run for more than a week. ‘‘The third section of the race was run at 27 seconds — the fastest time recorded in the last 10 years ... Mr Jack ran Tooram Lad ragged so he could not win the race,’’ Mr Hevey told the court. ‘‘When you combine that (footage) with the text messages in relation to betting ahead of the race and on the day and thereafter ... it is inescapable.’’ Ms Turnbull allegedly got a family member to place a bet on the race, which paid off with winnings of $2236.23. Ms Bartley, who allegedly helped with the training of Airbournemagic along with Mr Jack, also allegedly won $2274.24 on a winning bet on the race. Lawyers for the accused are set to object to a number of pieces of evidence, including the downloading of phone data seized, certain answers given to racing stewards and subsequent material Victoria Police obtained during a search warrant. ‘‘There is a question of unfairness of the accused,’’ Mr Jack’s defence lawyer Anthony Lewis told the court. ‘‘(We have) similar issues ... challenge the interview with stewards ... use of phone material downloaded and a challenge to the seizing of the mobile phone,’’ Ms Bartley’s defence lawyer Rohan Laurence said. Many of the charges face maximum sentences of 10 years in prison. The hearing continues today. The race in question By HAYDEN THOMSON Reprinted with permission of The Shepparton News  

A Victorian harness-racing trainer has been arrested by police as part of a criminal investigation. The Herald Sun has been told the inquiry is looking into allegations of race fixing from several years ago. Detectives from the Victoria Police sporting integrity intelligence unit executed two warrants in central Victoria on Tuesday. The searches were made on properties in the Bendigo area. A Victoria Police spokesman said a 60-year-old man was arrested and interviewed and has been released pending summons. That man has been a harness-racing trainer for decades. “The investigation remains ongoing,” the police spokesman said. A harness-racing figure connected to the properties declined to comment when contacted by the Herald Sun. “I’ve got no comment at all,” he said. Victoria Police set up the sporting integrity intelligence unit in 2013 amid heightened corruption concerns. It has previously run significant investigations into fixing in harness-racing. By Leo Schlink and Mark Buttler, Herald Sun Reprinted with permission of The Herald Sun  

Four harness racing drivers accused of race-fixing will face a hearing next month. Nathan Jack, Mark Pitt, Amanda Turnbull and Lisa Bartley all fronted Shepparaton Magistrates Court on Thursday. Their individuals cases were adjourned for hearing on November 27. It comes over a year since the quartet were arrested at Melton and charged with engaging in conduct that corrupts a betting outcome. Reprinted with permission of The Daily Advertiser

Queensland harness racing fixer Barton Cockburn has been warned off for life from all race tracks in the state. In a Brisbane court on Wednesday, 28-year-old Cockburn was fined $5000 after pleading guilty to three charges of match fixing at the Albion Park Paceway in November 2016. The driver-trainer was one of three people charged with match fixing offences in April this year by detectives from the Queensland Racing Crime Squad after an investigation of match fixing allegations in the harness racing industry. On Friday, Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett announced he had cancelled Cockburn's license and advised him he had been warned off for life from all race tracks in Queensland. "Mr Cockburn's warning off applies to all three codes of racing – thoroughbreds, harness and greyhounds," Barnett said. "The prosecution of Mr Cockburn should sound a clear warning to anyone wanting to undermine the integrity of racing in Queensland that there will be serious consequences." QRIC warns about severe bans for fixing Participants in Queensland's three racing codes have been put on notice they face severe bans if they engage in match-fixing. Queensland Racing Integrity Commission boss Ross Barnett said harness driver Barton Cockburn, who pleaded guilty to match-fixing charges in the Magistrates Court last week, had been warned off for life. The ban means Cockburn can't attend any racetrack in the world. "Cockburn's warning off applies to all three codes of racing, thoroughbreds, harness and greyhounds," Barnett said. "The prosecution of Cockburn should sound a clear warning to anyone wanting to undermine the integrity of racing in Queensland that there will be serious consequences." Cockburn was one of three people charged with match-fixing offences in April this year after the Racing Crime Squad investigated match fixing allegations in the harness racing industry. He was fined $5000 with no conviction recorded. Barnett said the addition of two more full-time investigators to the RCS would bolster the commission's commitment to integrity.

A man's anger over alleged race fixing at a Queensland harness racing track led to assaults on three drivers, a court has heard. Grant James Gavin, 32, was fined $2000 at Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to three counts of assaulting harness racing drivers at Albion Park Raceway in Brisbane last year. The court heard Gavin was angered after incidents in races involving horses trained by his father, approaching rival drivers before striking them and verbally threatening them. The first assault occurred on April 26, 2016, when Gavin approached a driver who had clashed with his father's horse during a race. "If you ever do it again it will be a bad idea," Gavin told the man before shoving him. On August 12, 2016, Gavin punched a driver and knocked his helmet off, and then on October 28, 2016, the father-of-three punched another driver in the mouth and accused him of lying about an arranged race result. The court heard two of three drivers assaulted by Gavin have since been charged with fixing races. Gavin was charged in February after an investigation by the Queensland Racing Crime Squad. Read more here.    

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Wednesday, April 19, 2017) — Increased out-of-competition testing, investing in additional investigators and research into emerging threats is the most effective way to catch — and, more importantly, deter — cheating in horse racing. That was the big take-away from the drug-testing forum on opening day of the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s 83rd annual conference on Equine Welfare and Racing Integrity at the Charleston Marriott. The panel featured Dr. Scott Stanley of the University of California, Davis, which conducts that state’s horse-racing testing; Dr. Anthony Fontana of Truesdail Laboratories; and, speaking via teleconferencing, Dr. George Maylin, the longtime director of the New York Equine Drug Testing and Research Laboratory. Also on the panel was Brice Cote, a former standardbred driver and detective in New Jersey State Police’s racetrack unit who heads the integrity efforts at The Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon Downs harness tracks. Even if the panelists expressed varying beliefs on the prevalence of rules-violators, they all emphasized the importance of out-of-competition testing — taking samples from horses in between races — as a way to detect substances that no longer show in traditional blood or urine tests from samples taken immediately after a race but still could have an impact on a horse’s performance. "The only way we're going to stop this is by intelligence-based policing and out-of-competition testing," Cote said. “Most jurisdictions have very good drug testing,” Stanley said afterward. “We do robust testing, and most of the labs are accredited as well. Now we look at big challenges. And when you look at big challenges, you can make those mountains into molehills, or you can take them off one at a time and get them knocked down. We are doing both. We are taking the ones that have legitimate concerns for the industry, like cobalt when that came up. We found that, set a threshold, established rules and made that go away — quickly. Steroids, anabolic and corticosteroids, those now are well-regulated. This are big wins for the industry. They weren’t low-hanging fruit either. We still have some challenges that have now climbed the tree, they’re higher up. And we need to knock those off.” Stanley discussed the potential of “biological passports” as a tool, in its infancy of development for equines, that could be used in out-of-competition testing. The testing would provide a baseline result to which subsequent testing both pre-race and between races could be compared. “If they change abruptly, if the bio-markers tell us this horse was given an anabolic agent, we don’t have to detect it,” he said of the exact substance. “We’d be able to say, ‘This horse cannot naturally produce this profile. It has to be enhanced.’” “Informed testing, focused testing and targeting testing is something we need to put more emphasis on,” said ARCI president Ed Martin. “Out of competition testing should be expanded, but it’s real value doesn’t come until you’ve expended the research dollars to be able to detect the substances not being detected in the existing out-of-competition testing.” Also Tuesday: A panel of administrative veterinarians discussed keeping horses’ treatment records and the trust issues that arise among equine practitioners, horsemen and regulators as to proper use. Dr. Scott Palmer, New York’s equine medical director, said that regulators getting horses’ treatment records can benefit horsemen and veterinarians because of the research made possible. He noted that Depo-Medrol was the most popular corticosteroid used in joint injections up until 2012. Unknown at the time, the medication could pool in other tissue and stick around longer when used in hocks and stifles, trickier joints than ankles, Palmer said. “We discovered that Depo-Medrol could be found in the joint in a blood test of a horse as long as 100 days after the administration period,” he said. “The idea that you go on the (Racing Medication & Testing Consortium) guidelines and see 21 days for Depo-Medrol is a risky business. It wasn’t accurate, because there was such a variation in the amount of time that the Depo-Medrol would be discoverable in a post-race blood test.” Palmer said that, with what was learned from knowing the location of injections and the timing of administration, veterinarians were cautioned about using Depo-Medrol in the first place. He said that today in New York if a veterinarian uses Depo-Medrol, the horse must be tested for the substance before running. “That’s a good example how we can use the research findings from the medical records, the treatment records to protect people and help create a better regulatory policy,” Palmer said. A morning panel brought various perspectives on how to promote the good in horse racing while not ignoring issues facing the sport. Wagner to players: ‘Regulators do strive to get it right’ Judy Wagner, outgoing ARCI chair and horse racing’s First Lady of Handicapping, had a message for her fellow horseplayers. Wagner is the 2001 National Horseplayers Championship winner, the horseplayers’ representative on the board of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the vice chair of the Louisiana Racing Commission. With her one-year term as ARCI chair ending Thursday, she’ll hand the baton to chair-elect Jeff Colliton of the Washington Horse Racing Commission. “As a horseplayer — and this is a message that I want to get across to horseplayers: Regulators do strive to get it right,” she told the audience at the Charleston Marriott for the three-day conference. “We really want to make the players, everybody in the industry, feel that we have an industry of integrity. “Let handicappers know that they have a product that they can respect; they don’t have to handicap the rumors that this trainer is doping horses or whatever. And saying that, I wish that we could educate the public that there is a difference between d-o-p-e and legal medication to help the horse. There is a place for therapeutic drugs.” Committee recommends banning Clenbuterol for Quarter Horses The Quarter Horse Racing Committee voted 5-3 to recommend amending the ARCI model rule to prohibit the bronchodilator Clenbuterol in Quarter Horse and mixed-breed races, with testing in blood serum and plasma, urine and hair permitted. The recommendation now goes to the Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee for consideration, then the Model Rules Committee and ultimately the ARCI board, if approved at each step. Clenbuterol is a useful therapeutic medication to treat respiratory ailments, but its abuse to build muscle mass sparked American Quarter Horse Association officials to request that it be completely banned in their breed. The abuse is not seen with Thoroughbreds, for which such muscle build-up could impede running that breed’s longer distances, officials said. The AQHA officials requested that the rule be breed-specific. “We don’t feel it is our job to take it away from other breeds,” said Janet VanBebber, the AQHA’s chief racing officer. “But we readily acknowledge that there is abuse within our breed of the sport.” The three racing jurisdictions voting against the recommendation said they thought it should be banned for all breeds. Ed Martin ARCI president

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