Harness Racing Scandal-Will it ever end? UPDATES

I covered this when it first broke and while ago in another thread, but we are still barely breaking the tip of the iceberg  folks. This si going to become the BIGGEST SCANDAL ever seen in any SPORT in this COUNTRY if not the world. The scope of the con is so wide and so deep that it may take the whole deck of cards to fall where every player is putting in the other to try to save some jail time. From top line trainers, starters, stewards, Rookies, young and old, Punters, bookmakers and Vets.

This is an outrage that it was allowed to fester along for years until it became common knowledge and still nothing was done with the bloody head in the sand attitude of NSW Harness Racing Authority Officials.Those involved had their noses so deep in the trough they must have been blinded by greed to let it prosper and think they would not get caught.

What will happen to those who make it to court and prosecutions? STUFF ALL is my guess, banned from tracks, big deal, a slap on the wrist, a few thousand dollars in fines and a mate will get you a job somewhere for keeping your mouth shut in 6 months time! The whole Board and every single official MUST be scrutinised as should every single driver to of ever won a race over these last few years, and that is probably not going back far enough.

The difficult part will be keeping on top of what’s going on with who, the Industry is now a shambles with shifty eyes, distrust, secret meetings and phone calls etc. At least if the NSW Police and the Government are fair dinkum is leaving no stone unturned, these cheating bastards have already been Identified, been under surveillance and recorded with plenty of evidence.

Trainer/driver Ben Sarina stood down

UPDATE Today at 1:25pm

Trainer/Driver Ben Sarina...Another dirty rotten greedy cheat, along with Dad too, trained him well...

SYDNEY, Dec 14 – Trainer/driver Ben Sarina has been stood down by Harness Racing NSW and charged with giving false evidence during their investigation into industry corruption.

Sarina was charged on Wednesday, a day after his father, trainer Greg Sarina, was also stood down for allegedly lying to authorities.

Ben Sarina is alleged to have given false evidence in relation to his telephone communication with former steward Paul O’Toole.

O’Toole, who resigned from his post earlier this year, has since been arrested and charged by police with a total of 38 counts of allegedly receiving or attempting to receive benefits through corruption.

He was one of five harness racing identities arrested last month in relation to the corruption scandal that came to light in August.

At that time, O’Toole was one of two stewards who resigned amid allegations some stewards were not ordering swabs from certain horses in certain races, to the knowledge of other participants of the practice.

Ben Sarina will have his charge heard by the special stewards’ panel appointed specifically to deal with the corruption scandal.

No date has been set for the hearing.

The paper trail goes long and deep these days you silly greedy pricks and all that is happening is the WAIT for your turn to be arrested. SHAME on you all All your greedy filthy faces will be planted here right on top for everyone to see too!

Disgraced Top driver Greg Bennett

Disgraced driver Dean Atkinson

Paul O'Toole ... resigned in August.

November 28, 2011

HARNESS racing legend Brian Hancock enjoyed Miracle Mile night as a spectator but like many who ventured to Menangle he was left wondering, who’s next?

This quandary has little to do with finding next year’s winner of the great race or who will be Smoken Up’s next victim.

Hancock is simply trying to work out who, or who isn’t, involved in the sickening harness racing scandal that is getting uglier by the day. Who will be the next trainer, driver or steward who will open their front door to the boys in blue?

So far five people have been arrested and charged by Strike Force Tairora. Whether proven innocent or guilty, the reputations of premier driver Greg Bennett, Cameron Fitzpatrick, Dean Atkinson, Michael Russo and Paul O’Toole have already been damaged. Between them, 60 charges of corruption have been laid.

Smoken works a miracle

Net widens in harness scam

Two more arrests in race scandal
And the hottest tip sweeping the western Sydney track on Saturday night was that more people could be added to the tally today. The same names keep being dropped and they are certainly household identities widely known by the general public. The mood, especially in the stabling enclosure, wasn’t like any normal Miracle Mile night.

There was tension and not just from those who were nervous about the prospect of winning a $500,000 race.

“It was hard to look a few different people in the eye and know whether or not they have been involved,” Hancock said.

“I noticed a few people looking down at their toes and you start to wonder, are they the next who will go? There was something uneasy about the night, I enjoyed the racing and the Miracle Mile is always a tremendous race with plenty of action – but it was just a little different.”

Hancock is entitled to feel this way given he has been consumed by harness racing for 45 years. He has dedicated the majority of his life to the sport and gets a sick feeling in his stomach when thinking about how he, and the honest, hard-working trainers and drivers have been dudded. How they have all been dragged in to the whirlpool and branded with notorious “red-hots” tag.

“Everyone is entitled to their day in court, no one is guilty until it is proven but I’ll have no sympathy for them,” he said. “Some I have considered friends and competed alongside for years but if they have been taking advantage of us then they deserve to wear the consequences. If they do jail-time then so be it.”

The timing of the police raids, just days out from the Miracle Mile – Sydney’s biggest race – upset many harness racing lovers. The feeling is that authorities could have addressed the situation after the weekend so that the spotlight was fixed on the horses and the spectacle.

Harness Racing NSW certainly didn’t have any understanding that the police, who justifiably don’t need to explain their actions, were about to strike and therefore can’t be accused.

Whatever the driving force, it can’t be changed now, the floodgates have already opened.

THE harness racing scandal may be isolated to races in NSW, but the investigation into the elaborate scam is set to cross state boundaries as the hunt for the money trail continues.

No further arrests were made by Strike Force Tairora yesterday, but several harness racing identities remain on edge, privately telling friends and fellow participants that it won’t be long until the police arrive on their doorstep.

“This is just scraping the tip of the iceberg,” Harness Racing NSW regulatory manager Reid Sanders said yesterday.

Disgraced Top driver Greg Bennett arrested

As shocking as it has been to see five people, including leading drivers Greg Bennett, Cameron Fitzpatrick, trainers Dean Atkinson and Michael Russo and steward Paul O’Toole arrested – others involved in the scandal have yet to be charged.

Sanders, who is conducting a separate investigation to the NSW Police, is keen for trainers and drivers to be brought to justice, but he is also adamant those pulling the strings behind the scenes must be caught.

Related Coverage

“There are a number of people located interstate that we intend to speak to regarding our investigation. We have limited our investigation to races conducted in NSW,” Sanders said. “We will be sitting down and speaking with police early in the week and after that we will have a better understanding as to where we are positioned and how we can move on from here.

“Our investigations were almost complete, we were

close to being in a position to act, but that has been placed on hold at this stage while we wait on the outcome of the moves by police.”

It was alleged in Lithgow Local Court on Thursday that steward Paul O’Toole received more than $400,000 for his involvement, a figure denied by his legal team.

This figure is sizeable, but a source has indicated to The Sunday Telegraph that punters, who were also receiving the information as to which horses would be given the green light, were netting substantial sums on some races.

Cameron Fitzpatrick, the son of premier trainer and Harold Park legend Paul Fitzpatrick, was stood down from duties at Menangle Park last night as a result of his arrest.

Cameron is understood to have made advances to Harness Racing NSW to attend the Miracle Mile meeting despite the charges against his name.

HRNSW officials informed the youngest of three Fitzpatrick boys that he was not to attend and that measures would be put in place to ensure that he was not on course.

AUSTRALIA’S biggest racing scandal in decades is set to see further arrests, after two more prominent trotting identities were charged with corruption-related offences yesterday.

The new developments have come as more details emerge about police allegations made in Lithgow Local Court on Thursday against former top trots steward Paul O’Toole, who faces 38 charges related to corrupt benefits.

The Daily Telegraph understands police are alleging more than $430,000 were deposited by others into a joint account operated by O’Toole over a 20-month period. Police are going to allege that some of these deposits were made by industry identities involved in the scandal.

Yesterday, trainer Dean Atkinson and driver Cameron Fitzpatrick were arrested near Goulburn and Camden respectively after police executed search warrants on their addresses.

Both were hit with three corruption charges, taking to 60 the number of charges police made against five industry identities – who also include the sport’s premier driver Greg Bennett and trainer Michael Russo – over a 24-hour period from Thursday morning. Atkinson and Fitzpatrick were stood down immediately by Harness Racing NSW, under rules in which industry participants can be directed not to participate pending charges or investigations. Bennett had been similarly stood down 24 hours earlier.

Fitzpatrick’s father, Paul – one of the top trainers in Sydney harness racing – declined to comment about his son’s arrest. But it is believed more arrests are imminent. Harness Racing NSW regulatory boss Reid Sanders said yesterday he would meet police officials next week for a full briefing on where their investigation stands.

“We also need to give them an update on where we’re at,” he said. “We have more persons of interest than have so far been arrested.”

Sanders said HRNSW had stood down people who were “interviewed by us prior to being arrested by police”.

It was alleged in Lithgow Local Court on Thursday that steward Paul O'Toole received more than $400,000 for his involvement, a figure denied by his legal team.

Meanwhile, police are understood to have alleged O’Toole allowed some trainers to administer what are known as “milkshakes” and other performance boosters to horses at six racetracks across NSW – Menangle, Bathurst, Penrith, Bankstown, Goulburn and Parkes – in many cases in exchange for financial benefits.

Although O’Toole was granted bail, he was forced to surrender his passport and asked not to contact trotting identities including Bennett, Russo, Atkinson, Fitzpatrick and another former steward, Matthew Bentley. Sanders reiterated his comments that there had never been an “investigation of this nature and scale in any racing code in Australia and the world”

November 25, 2011 1:43PM

LEADING driver Cameron Fitzpatrick and trainer Dean Atkinson have both been arrested and charged by police this morning for their involvement in the harness racing scandal engulfing the sport.

LEADING driver Cameron Fitzpatrick and trainer Dean Atkinson have both been arrested and charged by police this morning for their involvement in the harness racing scandal engulfing the sport.

The moves by Strike Force Tairora came 24-hours after three arrests were made to New South Wales’ best driver of the past decade Greg Bennett, steward Paul O’Toole and trainer Michael Russo.

Cameron Fitzpatrick, the son of premier trainer Paul, was charged with two counts of corruption and is due to appear in Penrith Local Court on December 15.

Atkinson was also charged with two counts of corruption and will appear in Picton Local Court on December 20.

The arrests have given harness racing an untimely black-eye when the focus should be on the $500,000 Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle tomorrow night.

Ex-Bulldogs star Ryan Tandy found guilty of NRL match-fixing

Ryan Tandy found guilty of trying to fix 2010 match between Canterbury Bulldogs and North Queensland Cowboys.

Well the time has finally come to make this bloke accountable for trying to cheat the game and the fans, all because he is a greedy gambling addict.Shame on those close to him, like his professional manager who got in on the act himself too.But we will hear more on that after today.He is awaiting sentencing this afternoon as I type this….lets hope he gets a sentence as a punishment and a DETERRENT to others thinking about doing the same…

UPDATE 12.02 06/10/11 How is this for a joke! Ryan Tandy convicted, fined $4000 and placed on a 12 month good behaviour bond. And his lawyers will be appealing that.Should consider himself a lucky bastard

FORMER Bulldogs forward Ryan Tandy has been found guilty of match-fixing in an NRL betting scam.

Sports Cheat Tandy will be sentenced later today

Magistrate Janet Wahlquist today said it was clear there was a plan to manipulate the first scoring of the game in August 2010 between the Bulldogs and the North Queensland Cowboys.

The plan had to include at least one player to make the bet come off, and the only rational hypothesis was that Tandy’s role was to do all that he could to make sure the Cowboys scored the first penalty goal, Ms Wahlquist said.

“He is the only player the evidence points to,” she said.

Tandy, 30, had pleaded not guilty to manipulating the first scoring point of the match to dishonestly obtain a financial advantage for “Sam Ayoub, John Elias and others, to win $113,245 from Tabcorp“.

The charge relates to an “unusual” betting plunge on the round 24 match, specifically to bets that the first points would be scored from a Cowboys penalty goal.

Tandy was penalised two minutes into the game for impeding a Cowboys player in front of the posts, after Tandy spilled the ball and gave away possession.

The magistrate is hearing sentencing submissions.

IT took Ryan Tandy less than a week to accrue gambling debts of $30,000 which he later said he would not repay because he “disputed” some bets made on his behalf, a court heard yesterday.

The former Bulldogs forward is facing Downing Centre Local Court on four charges of lying to the NSW Crime Commission during a police investigation into suspicious betting activity on a match last NRL season between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Bulldogs.

The 28-year-old has pleaded not guilty to those charges, as well as to one count of attempting to dishonestly obtain a financial advantage by deception.

The court heard former racing journalist John Schell organised for another man, Damien Flower, to place bets on Tandy’s behalf in June and July last year.

Schell told the court that Tandy, at that stage playing for the Melbourne Storm, had said he didn’t want bets made in his own name in light of the salary cap scandal, which had been exposed just weeks earlier.

Related Coverage

The court heard that Tandy asked for three bets of $5000 to be placed on horses to win at Flemington and Sydney – only for them all to place second.

Snell said he became concerned when Tandy’s debts grew to more than $30,000 and the NRL player started to “dispute” some of the bets he’d made.

But Snell said Tandy contacted him that June weekend and during the following week about placing bets on NRL matches.

Tandy was investigated after a flurry of bets was placed on the 2010 round 24 NRL match between the Bulldogs and the Cowboys in the unusual option of North Queensland scoring first from a penalty goal.

Tandy conceded a penalty in the opening moments of the game. However, North Queensland opted to take a quick tap in front of the posts and scored a try instead.

Contributors Wanted-Long hours, no pay…Passion for the truth a must

Contributors Wanted-Long hours, no pay…Well I’m kidding about long hours that will be up to you, but yes NO PAY! It’s a tough world this blogging business, and I’m falling behind because I cannot keep up on everything happening nor keep up with cases and events WORTHY of coverage and exposure here! I also encourage people to also have an opinion as an author when they put their name to a story. The debates on here are one of the best things we have

So here is what I am asking for folks and then you can decide if it is something you are interested in doing for our little community here and the wider “Net” for people to discover without fear or favour.

  • Contributors from each State, to allow better coverage on cases in their state as they happen
  • Researchers that can help look beyond the headlines (the sleuths that use more than google to find stuff!) Maybe suitable for anyone who likes to dig around, but not be the face of the article
  • Moderators now I pretty much allow anyone to have their say in the comments, but we do get people who trawl and make extreme comments purely for their own entertainment and stir up trouble. Over use of certain explicit language. So someone to help keep these types in line or off-line all together by deleting irrelevant vulgar comments etc

These are all ideas and please, I do this for you all, assuming you are the same as me and hate seeing the criminals, and scum-bags that float around our cities and streets getting away with stuff unscathed, hidden behind friends in high places or ancient suppression orders handed out like ice creams…

So please, suggestions here are encouraged, make a comment below…because without you guys, this site is nothing… Thanks

The details in the following form are kept private and will never be made public here on the Blog. It is for my eyes only guys…Regards Robbo

Jockey Shane Scriven banned for stealing whip

Veteran Queensland jockey Shane Scriven has been handed a career-threatening five-month ban for stealing an apprentice’s whip during a race at Ipswich last week.

Throughout his 30-year career, Scriven has had well publicised battles with weight and he told Thursday’s inquiry in Brisbane he might not be able to come back after a lengthy suspension.

But stewards determined the bizarre incident warranted the penalty which, subject to Scriven being granted a stay of proceedings pending an appeal, begins after Monday’s racing.

Earlier in the race, Scriven had his own whip accidentally knocked from his hand and as he approached the winning post, he reached over and grabbed apprentice Ben Looker’s whip.

Scriven’s mount Requested was beaten a nose by Seeyou with Toronto Dancer, ridden by Looker, a half-head away third.

Freeze-frame of jockey Shane Scriven taking a whip from another rider, Ben Looker, at Ipswich. Scriven has been suspended for five months.

After the post, Scriven handed the whip back to Looker who did not report the incident and stewards took no action on the day.

After considering a six-month ban, stewards reduced it by a month due to Scriven’s remorse and the difficulties he has with his weight.

Looker was given a two-week suspension for failing to report the incident.

In a further twist, Requested was disqualified from his second placing and Looker’s mount Toronto Dancer promoted to second.

Stewards said they regarded the safety aspects of the incident as paramount and the penalties needed to represent a deterrent.

They said the video showed Looker initially resisted Scriven’s attempt to take his whip and in those circumstances the dangerousness of Scriven continuing to attempt to snatch the whip could not be underestimated.

Scriven won the 2008-09 Brisbane premiership despite being unable to ride under 55 kilograms and has ridden many Group One winners including Scenic Shot who he will be reunited with at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Match Fixing Scandal – Tandy Charged, Sam Ayoub and John Elias arrested

FORMER first grade footballer John Elias and player agent Sam Ayoub were today arrested as the NRL betting scandal deepened.

They are finally rounding up these cheating greeding players. Bad enough to try and cheat in a high profile sport, and then be caught out and still lie, come on boys, man up and admit you stuffed up, you all look ridiculous.Tandy has to be banned for LIFE from any sport forever, and the other cronies involved should get time in jail…But there is MORE TO COME

No support: the Bulldogs will not provide Ryan Tandy with any support for his legal bills

The arrests came as police laid a further three charges against Bulldogs player Ryan Tandy when he appeared in court today.

Elias, 48, of Punchbowl was arrested at 9.45am by police attached to a special taskforce set up to investigate the alleged betting scam.

Sam Ayoub, 49, Tandy’s manager,  was also arrested when he presented himself at Campise police station. Ayoub’s business offices in Leichhardt were also raided. Both men are expected to be charged later today and appear in court. The arrests are part of an ongoing investigation into an alleged illegal betting activity surrounding the Round 24 NRL match between the Bulldogs and the Cowboys last year.

Tandy, 23, faced court today charged giving false and misleading information to a law enforcement agency. He denied lying to the NSW Crime Commission regarding his involvement in an alleged betting scandal. He was arrested last month following a probe by the racing and casino investigation unit.

The 29-year pleaded not guilty in Sydney’s Downing Centre to four counts of providing misleading evidence to the Crime Commission. Police today laid an additional three charges against Tandy in relation to three separate incidents relating to giving false/misleading evidence at a NSW Crime Commission hearing.

Tandy appeared today charged with giving evidence that was false or misleading at two Crime Commission hearings. The other charges served on the 29-year-old forward at Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court this morning included fresh allegations relating to an earlier game between the Gold Coast Titans and Tandy’s Bulldogs in June 2010, two months before the now infamous Townsville match. Tandy’s solicitor Danny Eid entered pleas of not guilty to all four charges on his client’s behalf.

“He gave false evidence about having placed a bet on an NRL club that the club he was playing for was involved in, namely the Bulldogs vs Titans on June 18,” a police document before the court says.

Detectives from the Racing and Casino investigation unit have also accused Tandy of giving false evidence about “a conversation discussing his position on the field for the kick-off in the North Queensland Cowboys and Canterbury Bulldogs match on August 21, 2010.”

The third new charge relates to lies Tandy allegedly told the hearing about his betting activity and access to his TAB account. It followed an early hearing on January 20, where police allege Tandy gave false evidence about his betting activities with a man, former journalist John Schell.

Tandy remains on bail and his matter will return to court next month. Tandy’s solicitor Danny Eid entered the not guilty pleas as his client sat silently in the front row of the court.

If convicted Tandy faces up to five years in jail.

Related Coverage

Dodgy NRL player manager Sam Ayoub arrested today over match Fixing

Ex player and cheat John Elias was arrested today over the Match Fixing Saga

I am Looking for Contributors for 2011

Some of you may or may not know but I run this website totally on my own for no pay or reward other than helping expose those who need exposing and highlighting things I see happening in our community that I feel are worth bringing to attention…

I love working on the site but I am struggling to keep up, yet I’m very keen to make it bigger and better in 2010.

So How would you like to help expand and build this website.? I am looking for contributors to help with new stories and researching special cases, reviewing books or movies maybe?

Are you willing to get involved? Let me know what you would be interested in, and leave a comment in the form below

You can remain as anonymous or as open as you like all I ask for is a commitment to the cause and accuracy in your contributions

If you want to help in another way you could “Buy me a beer” by clicking a link (not yet operational) and donating a dollar and help get the site fully hosted so we can post full video, audio and other media and documents rather than using you-tube etc.. They have already deleted my account for copyright on news stories…

(not operational just yet!)


All the best for Christmas, stay safe, be merry, and for those of you who were not so good this year, there is always next year!



NRL betting video is half-back Brad Murray

UPDATE Some sources have identified the man in the betting scandal video as Brad Murray, a half back who signed with Parramatta this year, but has played for Canterbury Bankstown and the Sydney Roosters…more to come on this. Will be blown wide open…

Brad Murray placing bets on failed betting sting

STRIKE Force Suburb detectives have released CCTV footage of a man they hope will help them crack open the possible match fixing allegations surrounding the round 24 NRL match between the Bulldogs and the Cowboys. 

Police have released images of a man who placed one of the first suspicious bets on the match.

The man placed a bet that the first points would come from a North Queensland penalty goal at about 1pm on August 19 at a hotel on Parramatta Road at Flemington.

Over the next two days a suspiciously high number of similar bets were placed, with punters standing to win more than $250,000.

Bulldog prop Ryan Tandy famously lost the ball with his first hit-up of the match and then gave a penalty away in front of the posts.

But the Cowboys rejected the shot at a penalty goal and instead scored a try as the first play of the match.

“As this was one of the earliest bets placed on the game we believe he may have information that can assist our investigation,” said Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis, commander of the Firearms and Organised Crime Squad.

He said more than 80 people had so far been interviewed, including relevant players from the match, with the man identified in the CCTV footage one of the last unidentified people under investigation.

He said the scandal, being investigated by Strike Force Suburb, risked eroding public confidence in all sport.

“If true, the allegations go to the heart and the integrity of the game,” Det. Supt. Katsogiannis said.

While he would not speculate on if or when charges would be laid, he said he was “very optimistic” about the chance of success.


Shinn had $4000 on horse his partner Kathy O'Hara rode

Jockey Blake Shinn had $4000 on his partner and fellow jockey Kathy O'Hara's horse

More to come on these, need to check something…UPDATE LATE TODAY 26/11/10 SHOULD BE CRIMINAL CHARGES, people bet on horses, these bloke are jockeys, how can you trust them? need to set massive deterrent to other jockeys…

SYDNEY jockeys Blake Shinn and Peter Robl were today given lengthy suspensions by Racing NSW stewards for placing bets on races in which they were riding.

Melbourne Cup-winning rider Shinn was disqualified for 15 months and Robl for 12 months following the revelation they bet more than $300,000 over the past two years.

Shinn’s mother Carol and Robl’s wife Elaine were both fined $7500 for being a party to the offences.

Evidence to the inquiry showed Shinn and Robl had bet on both Mrs Shinn and Mrs Robl’s account by phone and the internet.

Jockeys cannot bet on horseracing but are permitted to bet on other sports.

Jockeys Blake Shinn and Peter Robl have pleaded guilty to all charges relating to their illegal betting activities.

The two were charged over placing bets via a Tabcorp account registered to Robl’s wife Elaine.

Elaine Robl has pleaded guilty to two of three charges relating to activity on the account while Shinn’s mother Carol has also pleaded guilty to two of three charges relating to that account.

Blake Shinn also pleaded guilty to a new charge issued by Racing NSW stewards of placing calls from the jockeys‘ room on August 19 which is against the rules.

Telephone records also show he placed calls to his partner, fellow jockey Kathy O’Hara, when she was riding at a Goulburn meeting on August 23.

Shinn admitted to having $4000 on a horse O’Hara rode that day but denied the conversation was about betting. No it was about picking up some eggs on the way home? bloody hell

O’Hara was unavailable for Friday’s inquiry which has been adjourned while stewards consider the not guilty pleas by Elaine Robl and Carol Shinn to the third charge against them.

More on Peter Robl from a Herald Sun story the other day

Busted jockey Peter Robl heads out for race seven at Rosehill Gardens to Hecklers

AS Peter Robl walked into the mounting yard for his first ride at Rosehill Gardens yesterday, the tension was palpable.

Every photographer on course immediately trained their cameras on him, a nervous smile betraying the jockey’s mood.

Then a rowdy punter cut the ice with the comment: “Hey Robl, have you backed this one with Shinn!”

I’m not sure if Robl heard it but those around the punter burst into laughter.

Robl, a laid-back character and one of racing’s genuine nice guys, probably realises he is going to have to put up with these taunts for the rest of his riding career.

He climbed aboard Golestan and gave the horse every chance before finishing fourth behind Scarf.

But only Robl knows what his week from hell has taken from him.

He is embroiled in a betting scandal with fellow jockey Blake Shinn that has rocked NSW racing.

“I’m handling it OK – what can you do?” Robl said with a shrug of the shoulders when asked how he was coping with the pressure of the on-going stewards inquiry. The riding careers of Robl and Shinn are now stuck at the crossroads.

Between them, the two jockeys are alleged to have placed countless bets, totalling more than $500,000, over the last two years on NSW gallops, harness and greyhound races.

Racing NSW stewards aren’t concerned about the bets placed on the trots and dogs, but jockeys wagering on thoroughbred races is a cardinal sin.

Stewards have already laid a total of 12 charges against Robl and Shinn after a sensational opening day of the inquiry last Friday. It was learned that stewards have CCTV footage of Shinn placing bets at inner-city TABs and recordings of Robl using his wife’s TAB telephone betting account.

Charges have also been laid against Robl’s wife, Elaine, and Shinn’s mother, Carol, for their alleged involvement in the betting affair.

With the inquiry expected to reconvene later this week, Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy did reveal racing officials viewed these matters on three levels, which are in descending order:

* JOCKEYS betting against themselves;

* JOCKEYS betting on their own mounts; and

* JOCKEYS betting on races they are not riding in.

Despite the considerable number of bets placed by Shinn and Robl, stewards have found only one instance where either jockey placed a wager on another horse they were riding against.

Shinn invested $2500 on Giresun in a Randwick race back in August when he was riding Diamond Jim.

It proved a losing wager, with Giresun finishing second while Diamond Jim ran fourth.

“Even though I have gambled, I’ve always done my best [on the race track],” Shinn told stewards.

Robl maintains that he has never backed a horse he was riding against.

In fact, stewards have forensically examined every race both jockeys had wagers on and were riding in, and have found no fault with their rides.

If either jockey was found guilty by stewards, talk at the track yesterday was that they faced a riding ban of at least 12 months.

Robl, 38, has already indicated privately that if he was outed, he would probably return to his former home in the Riverina to pick up the pieces of his riding career. A ban for 23-year-old Shinn, who won the Melbourne Cup on Viewed two years ago, would be even more damaging because the young jockey is on the cusp of a hugely successful career in the saddle.

Shinn, who is currently out injured with a broken leg, has placed in real jeopardy his chances of securing international riding contracts in places like Hong Kong and Mauritius in coming years.

The betting scandal engulfing Robl and Shinn isn’t as serious as the notorious 1995 Jockey Tapes, as there is no evidence or suggestion that either jockey is involved in rigging races.

But the scandal has again raised questions about whether riders should be allowed to bet on their own mounts.

Murrihy almost had apoplexy yesterday when I broached this topic with him.

“There is a clear prohibition against jockeys betting and I’m not a supporter of that being changed one iota,” Murrihy said.

“It is such a simplistic approach to say let a jockey bet. One day the jockey might have $10,000 on his horse and knock half the field down trying to win. The next time he rides that horse, he might not back it, so what message does that send?”

Murrihy also defended his decision to hold Friday’s inquiry out in the open.

“The public image and perception of this sport is paramount and that was the primary reason we did not hold the inquiry behind close doors,” he added.

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys refused to comment on the Shinn and Robl case other than to say that both jockeys deserve procedural fairness and natural justice.

But, on a broader issue, he was equally adamant that jockeys betting on races “cannot and will not be tolerated”.

“The entire fabric of the racing industry revolves around integrity and in order to keep public confidence in the sport, jockeys must strictly and conscientiously abide by these rules,” V’landys said.

“One of the assets racing has over the emerging threat of sports betting is that no other sport invests as much as racing does on the integrity issues.

“The punters need to know that not only has racing got to look right, it has to be right.”