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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

Harness racing connections of in-form mare Summertime Lizzie are now eyeing off winter carnival riches. The former Sydney mare has thrived since being placed in the care of leading Logan Village training partnership of Vicki Rasmussen and Shane Graham. During her stint in the Sunshine State, the Santanna Blue Chip six-year-old has built up a fine record of six wins and six minor placings from 16 starts to date. But the recent form surge of 6 victories from her past 8 starts now has connections eyeing the mares feature during the carnival. The $20,500 Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes is scheduled for July 8 at Albion Park. “It’s definitely on the radar given her recent form; the conditions of that race look really suitable for her and she’s now proven she can run a very good mile. Given how she performs in her next start will determine what path we choose.” Graham said. Summertime Lizzie returned to the winners circle yesterday (Tuesday) rating 1:54.7 at Albion Park following two defeats. Prior to that, the speedy mare recorded five straight victories at Albion Park including a career best effort of 1:51.9 when successful in the $15,540 Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final on May 14 when defeating the highly regarded Mattgregor. “It was a solid effort yesterday but the early burn helped us greatly, when I turned her loose down the back she really felt sharp and in control. I think her best efforts have been at the shorter trips. “Plenty were disappointed when she suffered those recent defeats but when you sit down and study her efforts, they were more than reasonable and her sectionals will back that up. “The Fleur De Lil will be a strong race with the likes of Smooth Showgirl and Rocker Band among others headed that way but with a good draw, I don’t think she’ll be too far away.” Summertime Lizzie is raced by Adam Sofoulis. Last year, classy mare Barynya scored in the Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes in a time of 1:53.9. Barynya is now racing in North America for trainer Chris Oakes. Chris Barsby

Talented trotter Releven Dream posted another harness racing track record yesterday (Tuesday) at Albion Park. The Dream Vacation gelding led throughout in the SKY Racing Mobile Trot over 2138m while posting a mile rate of 1:57.3, easily eclipsing the previous record of 1:58.6 which was held by Our Overanova when successful on August 15, 2015. Releven Dream scored easily defeating Master Hugh and Justabitcoco. The sectionals of the final mile were covered in 29.6, 30.4, 28.6 and 29.2 seconds. It was a welcome return to form for Releven Dream who has proven costly in his past two starts owing to breaks. Releven Dream is raced by Daren Garrard and prepared for him by Vicki Rasmussen while Shane Graham took the winning drive. Since being under the care of Rasmussen, Releven Dream has won 4 of his 7 starts. “He’s a very gifted trotter when he’s right and his speed is amazing, he felt great throughout and never gave his rivals a chance and possibly could’ve gone a little quicker if I wanted. It was a hot day and conditions were ripe for fast times.” Graham said. It is the second track at Albion Park to fall his way after claiming the 2647m stand-start record back on September 22, 2015. Amazingly, between Releven Dream and Our Overanova, the two talented trotters hold four Albion Park track records. Our Overanova holds the record for the 1660m mobile (1:56.2) and the 2138m stand-start (1:59.0). At this stage, there are no immediate plans for Releven Dream and he will continue to race at Albion Park although a trip to Sydney in the future could be considered. Chris Barsby

Talented trotter Relven Dream has featured in a harness racing stable switch. And it comes on the eve of the upcoming Gr.2 $40,000 Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship series at Albion Park next month. The Dream Vacation – Ten To One gelding has joined the leading stables of Vicki Rasmussen and Shane Graham after being transferred from the stables of Daren Garrard. “It came as a bit of a shock because he’s a really nice trotter, Daren asked if we interested and we didn’t need to think twice about taking him on board. Obviously the DJA series will be the main priority and hopefully we can have him fit and firing for it.” Graham said. The former New Zealand eight-year-old originally entered the stables of Peter Walsh at Menangle upon arrival on Australian soil and went winless in 10 starts before relocating to Queensland. Joining the stables of Daren Garrard, Releven Dream struck instantly winning his first two starts at Albion Park, the latter victory coming in track record time. Releven Dream smashed the 2647m stand-start record when rating 2:00.8. But soon after, the wins dried up and the talented trotter has gone winless in his next 10 starts. Often he cost himself owing to his ordinary manners and waywardness. Sent to the spelling paddock following his latest unplaced run on June 18, Releven Dream is back and ready to kick-start his latest campaign. “He will trial on Tuesday at this stage, we’re happy with the way he’s going and trial will tell us a lot more about him so hopefully everything works out for the better. “Daren did all the foundation work with him, he did all the jog work with following his spell and gave all him a solid base for this campaign, hopefully we can get him back to the form like he showed when setting the track record last year. This series next month looks like being pretty strong with the locals and several trotters from Sydney being earmarked, if we can get him going like Daren did, we’re a chance.” Releven Dream lacks nothing as far as his pedigree is concerned; he ranks as a half-brother to the likes of Ten Too, Habibti, Lothario, Habibti Ivy and Habibti Inta. by Chris Barsby

The 2016 Racing Queensland UBET winter carnival is fast approaching and in the coming weeks, Queensland harness racing broadcaster Chris Barsby will profile a number of major players vying for the top prizes. With 18 Black Type races on the program for the 2016 Winter Carnival, the carnival’s pinnacle in 2016 is the G1 Blacks A Fake, which now boasts an impressive $200,000 in stakes. The carnival spans from May 28 to July 30. Here’s a profile featuring a talented open class performer that will take on the best in the free-for-all features during the carnival. Name: Glenferrie Hood Stable Name: Hoody Age: 6yo gelding Owner: Daniel, Sam & Patrick Mustica, Robert & Greg Dick, Kevin Strahan, Dean Cheney, Rob Chivilo & Joe Zlaman Trainer: Vicki Rasmussen Driver: Pete McMullen Prizemoney: $223,270 Biggest win: Gr.3 Wondais Mate & Gr.3 Terang Cup Target: UBET Picket Fence Challenge – Gr.2 $50k Sunshine Sprint & Gr.1 $200k Blacks A Fake Trainer says: “A real surprise packet for the stable! Originally the main focus was going to be the Redcliffe Cup and we’ll probably still head that way but his improvement has been very impressive since arriving and his recent victory in the Wondais Mate didn’t completely shock us. The Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake are his immediate targets so that will an even bigger test but so far, so good for this big horse.” Barsby says: “I didn’t expect to see him come off the back of a horse like Christen Me and run him down like he did the other night but full marks to him, the winning effort was quite impressive when you break it down. It will only get tougher from here but the guaranteed speed in these upcoming features will suit him, if he lands a good draw in any of those races, he won’t be far away. He’s thriving in the sunshine state!”

Durable pacer Glenferrie Hood sprung a major harness racing upset by claiming the Gr.3 $30,000 Wondais Mate at Albion Park tonight (Saturday). Recently transferred to the leading stables of Vicki Rasmussen, the Christian Cullen gelding had not won since taking out the Terang Cup back in February this year. But Glenferrie Hood ($34.90) turned his fortunes around with a barnstorming finish to defeat Ideal Scott ($5.90) and kiwi sensation Christen Me ($1.60 fav) in a time of 1:52.4 for the 1660m feature event. Sectionals were posted in 27.5, 29.2, 27.6 and 28.2 seconds. “He was absolutely super tonight and thrived on a genuine speed and finished really well, I still gave myself a good chance working off the back straight and got good cover flow from Christen Me before unwinding with a big late burst.” Winning driver Pete McMullen said. Connections of Glenferrie Hood have the option of starting again next week in the Listed $25,000 Mr Feelgood Open Pace or waiting for the Gr.2 $50,000 Sunshine Sprint on July 9. Tonight’s victory guarantees him a start in the Gr.1 $200,000 Blacks A Fake on July 16. “The draw was the obvious concern tonight because I wasn’t sure where we would land but we were lucky enough to get into a fairly handy spot, things played out pretty good thereafter. I thought he went really good last week; he got a little rank mid-race before being caught up behind weakening horses. “Obviously the opposition will only get stronger in the coming weeks but he’s fit and in-form so he’s got a show provided he gets some normal luck. Hopefully, he can land some handy draws which will give him a shot again.” Glenferrie Hood has now won 21 of his 62 starts while amassing more than $220,000 in prizemoney. Christchurch trainer Cran Dalgety was happy with the effort of Christen Me and stated he will improve off tonight’s run. Christen Me had not raced since May 21 at Addington. The Brisbane winter carnival officially gets underway next week at Albion Park with three weeks of high quality pacing action planned.

Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards today concluded an inquiry into a report received from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (RSC) that a swab sample taken from TRIKALA following its winning performance at Albion Park on 23 June 2015 was found upon analysis to contain the prohibited substance Arsenic above the prescribed threshold. Evidence was taken from Ms Vicki Rasmussen, the trainer of TRIKALA, who explained her feeding and husbandry regime associated with this horse. Evidence was also provided by Dr Peter Hill on behalf of Miss Rasmussen. Dr Karen Caldwell, Senior Veterinary Officer (RSC) explained the effects of Arsenic on the horses’ bodily system and Mark Jarrett, Manager Analytical Services (RSC) explained the methodology in the testing of the sample. After considering the evidence tendered, Stewards issued a charge against Ms Rasmussen pursuant to Rule 190(1) which reads: “A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances” The particulars of the charge being that Ms Rasmussen presented TRIKALA to race at Albion Park on 23 June 2015 when a post-race urine sample taken from the gelding was found upon analysis to contain the prohibited substance Arsenic above the prescribed threshold. Ms Rasmussen pleaded not guilty to the charge. After further consideration, Stewards were satisfied that the charge could be sustained as issued and found Ms Rasmussen guilty. In assessing the matter of penalty, Stewards were mindful of the nature of the substance concerned, the particular circumstances of this case, the fact that this was Ms Rasmussen’s second offence under this Rule within a 7 month period, other personal subjective matters and the need for a penalty to serve as both a specific and general deterrent to illustrate that drug free racing is of paramount importance to the integrity of Harness Racing. Stewards determined the appropriate penalty be the disqualification of Ms Rasmussen’s licence for a period of 6 months. Under the provisions of Rule 195 TRIKALA was disqualified as the winner of Race 6 at Albion Park on 23 June, 2015 and all other placegetters were amended accordingly. Ms Rasmussen was advised of her rights of appeal. Panel: D Farquharson, K Wolsey, N Boyle

Queensland harness racing trainer Vicki Rasmussen will make the first of many trips down the highway from Brisbane to Sydney this week. Rasmussen headed south today (Thursday) with stable star Torque In Motion and Allamerican Idol, both mares will race in the Gr.3 $40,000 Garrards Horse & Hound Ranji Bill Stakes this Saturday night at TABCORP Park, Menangle.

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