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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

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Tuesday, April 18, 2017) — Are our testing laboratories catching the cheaters? And are our racing officials getting it right? Those are among the hot-button topics that promise insightful and lively discussion at the ARCI Conference on Racing Integrity and Welfare that runs Tuesday through Thursday at the Charleston Marriott. The three days of panels and presentations address issues facing members of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, which represents the only independent entities recognized by law to license, make and enforce rules and adjudicate matters pertaining to pari-mutuel racing. Paul Matties Jr., winner of the 2016 National Handicapping Championship, will provide a horseplayer’s perspective into whether today’s racing officials are making the correct calls. Joining Matties on the “Questioning Whether Racing Officials Get It Right” session on Wednesday morning will be veteran steward Hugh Gallagher, chair of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program and the New York Racing Association’s first safety steward, and Maryland Racing Commission executive director and ARCI treasurer Mike Hopkins. Outgoing ARCI chair and 2001 NHC tournament winner Judy Wagner serves as moderator. “Any time I can represent the horseplayers, I’m always honored,” said the 47-year-old Matties, a professional gambler and horse owner from Ballston Spa, N.Y. “It’s become commonplace in the industry over time that the players are the ones who are forgotten when decisions need to be made. I’m optimistic that somebody is reaching out. All horseplayers go about things in different ways. I’ve been thinking about it, so I can represent everybody — not just what I believe. I’m going to think of it as we’re a group. “I’m not going there to be critical of anything that has been done in the past. Let’s look at future things. I’m excited to go, and I’m curious what kind of things I’ll be asked. I hope Judy doesn’t take it easy on me. I want it to be substantive.” Wagner, who is vice chair of the Louisiana Racing Commission and the horseplayers’ representative on the board of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, said the panel is part of ARCI’s outreach to players to “listen and ensure a product that has a high level of integrity. “We want this panel — and the others at the conference — to provide unvarnished insight and dialogue on how we can improve, as well as what we are doing right.” “ARCI members work for the public and not any aspect of the industry,” said ARCI president Ed Martin. “We are always careful to keep the horseplayer in mind with everything we do.  Horseplayers outnumber everyone else and keep the sport going. We should never forget that. “There are many racing-related meetings each year by various groups, but the annual RCI conference is the only one where industry issues and potential solutions are discussed directly with the people who actually make and enforce the rules throughout North America and parts of the Caribbean. The regulatory standards determined at this meeting more often than not actually become the policy affecting everyone involved in racing.  The RCI members are the only truly independent arbiters of racing-related matters as designated by the various laws that have empowered them.” Other panels at the conference: “Drug Testing Forum: Are We Doing It Right? Are We Catching the Cheaters?” “Veterinarians: Racing Records and the Trust Issue” “The Adjudication System: Is there a Better Way?” “Policing the Backside: A View From the Front Line” “Regulating the Whip and Crop” “Promoting Racing - Putting our Best Foot Forward in a Storm of Negativity” Presentations include “The Challenge in Adapting New Technology and Opportunities to Statutory Limitations.” Meetings include: model-rules committee, drug testing standards, ARCI’s annual business meeting and board organizational sessions as well as the regulators’ Standardbred and Quarter Horse racing committees. Wednesday’s luncheon speaker features Bennett Liebman, Esq., the Albany Law School’s Government Lawyer-in-Residence, giving a talk entitled, “Confessions of a Recovering Racing Regulator.” The complete agenda and information about speakers can be found at http://bit.ly/2oGkAcj. Ed Martin, ARCI president

The harness racing race-fixing scandal has widened, with authorities identifying at least two more allegedly fixed races. Police will allege harness trainer-driver Bart Cockburn, 27, who was charged with four race-fixing offences, was involved in a fix in three separate races from November last year, all at Brisbane’s Albion Park. Cockburn was alleged to have participated in a fix on November 12 last year, when fellow driver-trainer Dayl March was also alleged to have been involved in an organised race result. March was charged with the race-fixing offence under the Queensland Criminal Code earlier in the week. It is understood while both March and Cockburn colluded to win the race on November 12, neither were able to pull off the alleged fix. The Sunday Mail understands Cockburn’s charges also relate to a November 5 race in which he drove the fourth-placed Marty Bee, and a January 27, 2017, race in which he came second on Major Kiwi. Authorities say the alleged fixing charges did not always mean the accused was attempting to win the race. Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett indicated there would be more charges to follow in the coming weeks as the investigation into the fixed races continues to evolve. “This is an emerging picture,” he said. “As we talk to more people and arrest more people, it will deepen our understanding of what is going on in the industry. “Other people will be interviewed and potentially charged in the coming days and weeks.” Part of the police investigation now and in the future will focus on betting activity that has accompanied the alleged fixing activity, where it may have occurred through either legal or illegal methods. Bart Cockburn placed 5th in the 2015-16 drivers’ premiership race, steering home 100 winners in his 676 starts. He amassed a total of more than $870,000 prize money for connections over the premiership season. By Trenton Akers Reprinted with permission of The Courier-Mail

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." Sophie Lester Reprinted with permission of  The Warick Daily News

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