Trainer Hayden Haitana’s life ban lifted over Fine Cotton ring-in scandal

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HAYDEN Haitana, trainer of infamous ring-in Fine Cotton, is once again free to enter the racetracks of Australia after the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board lifted his lifetime ban today.

The Courier Mail has learned that the board has agreed to recommendations made by stewards and the Queensland Thoroughbred Racing Board that Haitana have his warning off removed.

Hayden Haitana with ring-in Fine Cotton in 1985.

Hayden Haitana with ring-in Fine Cotton in 1985. Source: News Limited

Haitana has been inundated by media requests since the Sunday Mail broke the story of his likely return last weekend.

“I haven’t had a bad reception from anybody,” Haitana said.

“Everyone I have spoken to has wanted to shake my hands.”

In the infamous August 18, 1984 sting, the poorly performed Fine Cotton was substituted by ring-in Bold Personality, which edged out Harbour Gold by a nose.

Haitana maintains to this day he would have been able to get Fine Cotton to win a race if he had been allowed to prepare it for such a sting, but the masterminds of the scam were insistent on a ring-in.

Racing Queensland’s decision follows a heartfelt letter sent to stewards by Haitana in October, where he spoke of his desire to take his grandchildren to the races.

“I write to you as a 68-year-old, who had his livelihood taken away more than a quarter of a century ago,” he wrote. “I write as a grandfather who cannot take his grandchildren to watch the races. I write as a man, who, at one stage, could not visit the home of his own brother because he couldn’t be around thoroughbred horses. I write as a man who forged a life around horses and racing but now must live without either. In short, I write as a man who has served his time.”

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