Day At The Track

Court hears stablehand told of race fixing

05:59 AM 08 Dec 2017 NZDT
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Shepparton driver Nathan Jack
Shepparton driver Nathan Jack
Nicole Garmston Photo

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

 

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