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.

7 thoughts on “Harness Racing Scandal-Will it ever end? UPDATES

  1. You want to know what is so hypocritical with all this. Reid Sanders was in charge of QLD racing & was for a long time 2IC to John Hackett, of guess where, Trots Albion park QLD where they say the “Red Hots” happened for ages & he was alleged to be dirty & in on it too… do some digging, you will see I’m right. This is NOT just NSW


  2. It’s a tough industry to survive in and it’s only going to get tougher. You don’t have to be a genius to see money is about to get a hole lot tighter world wide and owners always leave trainers last on their list of priorities when paying their bills. Of course this industry is red hot if all you know is harness racing and you have no cash flow. Imagine if every day you went to work you had to compete for your wages!

    Harness racing needs to come up with ideas that make it less attractive to cheat and one idea is to look at royalties paid to connections of horses were a wager has been placed. In harness racing you either breed or buy your horse and from that moment on you are forking out massive amounts of money with the idea that hopefully this horse might return you an income of sorts. But reality is 70% of horses that race won’t return what you have invested in them. And so the punter gets upset that in order for these trainer drivers to survive some cheat. Sure that’s not fair but like I said every race meeting 70% of those at the track don’t make enough money for people to survive on.

    With that kind of percentage against you the only other way for these people to make some money back is to introduce a royalties system right across the entire racing scene and spread the cash flow more evenly. Why should a businesses like Centrebet or Sports bet pay nothing at all when lets face it they are making a killing and it’s in their best interest as well to clean the industry up.



    I like the fact that NSWHR has been forward thinking and employed companies like Oz-Horse.

    Their staff have been put into place by turning up at our properties, and watching our horses and all who have contact with them, ensuring it is a cleaner fairer race for all of us hard working trainers. They are friendly, helpful and understanding the pressures we face in wanting ALL TRAINERS to be playing by the “Clean Race Rules.”

    We would like NSWHR to have these experienced horsepeople watching the horse for a couple of days out from the Big Prizemoney events, but in the meantime, but at least they are there, and as a trainer I feel more confident we are reaching a level playing field.

    I hear there is now an enquiry (whistleblower tip off) into their practices with some disgruntled people claiming they are “security guards” when in effect they only look after the “safety health and welfare of our horses”.

    The 2011 Miracle Mile without the Oz-Horse experienced horsepeople was INEPT, PATHETIC and caused us major headaches. They do not know what horse terminology even is, in a case a horse kicked over a feed bin, security just left it there, whereby my runner could have been hurt, security people DO NOT UNDERSTAND how much work goes into preparing a horse for a race like the Miracle Mile, and were a HINDERANCE not a help!

    So to Peter and his team, hope you win, and we look forward to you working with us again to help ensure a clean race and a cleaner industry, we need to thank people like you and your staff, not hinder you, your valuable service also ensures punters get a real chance to win and we have a level playing field.

    You get my support always!


  4. Money talks in all sports, I was pleased to read Greg and Ben Sarina were finally caught, I raced horses in both NSW and Victoria, It was not hard to see what was going on.


Post your thoughts here, then PRESS POST COMMENT button folks, cheers

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s