Racing Victoria is promising swift action as a race-fixing scandal threatens to boil over in Australia.
Fairfax and the ABC reported that a jockey had come to the attention of police in Victoria over his ride in a race won by another horse.
Police are investigating whether the horse was ridden in a way that assisted the horse that ultimately won.
It is reported that another jockey and several other racing identities are also being investigated by organised crime detectives in Victoria as part of the investigation. One newspaper reported that the probe had been widened to four jockeys.
The Herald in Melbourne reports that federal police and the Tax Office are joining the Victorian detectives in an offshoot inquiry into corruption in the racing industry focused around betting.
Racing industry sources told the newspaper that the Australian Crime Commission, the peak criminal intelligence body, has questioned up to a dozen figures in connection with the wider probe.
Racing Victoria Chief Executive Rob Hines said his organisation had no knowledge of the allegation regarding a jockey wagering on another horse in the same race, as reported in the media, and was not aware of the source of the allegation.
“If evidence is provided to Racing Victoria to support this allegation then swift action will be taken by the stewards under the Rules of Racing,” Hines said.
“With respect to comments pertaining to a separate investigation into betting activities, it is important to note that we stringently monitor betting on over 4000 races annually in conjunction with all approved wagering operators to ensure that the integrity of our sport is maintained.
“As part of this process, we regularly investigate betting on specific races where there may be an abnormal pattern of activity and if required will open an inquiry to further our investigations.
“We will not comment on individual investigations until such time as charges have been laid with respect to breaches of the Rules of Racing.
“As advised previously, Racing Victoria has been working closely with the Racing Integrity Commissioner, Sal Perna, and Victoria Police for a number of months on the allegation pertaining to fixing of the race won by Smoking Aces at Cranbourne in April 2011.
“The Victoria Police are not in a position to provide stewards with the relevant evidence at this time due to legislative impediments. However, once the evidence can be made available Racing Victoria will immediately open a stewards inquiry.
“Race-fixing allegations often involve unusual betting activity by unlicensed persons but Racing Victoria’s powers over unlicensed persons were limited by VCAT in a decision in 2010. The State Government has indicated that they are not prepared to legislate to bridge this gap until the matter has again been tested in Court.
“We again welcome Victoria Police’s renewed focus on racing related crime which highlights the need for a collaborative approach to limit the opportunities for illegal activities in our sport.”