A 1986 Four Corners report on racing, politics and the police prompted defamation charges. (Four Corners)
Tony Jones investigates the connections between racing, politics and police.
The Waterhouse family lawyers consequently brought criminal defamation charges against Tony Jones and the program’s executive producer, Peter Manning. However, the High Court ruled against the injunction.
The program was also referred to the ABC board before finally being cleared for broadcast.
This report won a Walkley Award for Best Television Current Affairs .
Reporter: Tony Jones
Presenter: Andrew Olle
Executive Producer: Peter Manning
In the biggest scandal to hit racing in years, Central Districts jockey David Walker had his licence withdrawn today and will face charges of pulling up a horse so he could collect from betting on a rival in the same race.
Walker, who has lost the mount on Scapolo, one of the favourites for the first leg of the Hastings Triple Crown on Saturday, the $200,000 Makfi Stakes, faces disqualification for up to life if found guilty as the act strikes at the very heart of the integrity of racing.
The affair is sure to focus the spotlight again on why jockeys are allowed to bet here at all when it is an offence in most other jurisdictions around the world.
And it will also bring into question the future of the TAB taking head-to-head betting on selected races, where odds are offered on one horse beating another home.
Walker, 38, is alleged to have deliberately ridden Watch Your Man to lose to rival St Ransom at Awapuni on August 16, because he wagered heavily on the other horse beating his mount home in a head-to-head special option offered by TAB bookmakers.
Stewards questioned Walker about his ride on the day after he first restrained Watch Your Man to the rear of the field, causing the horse to race ungenerously, then improved wide on the turn, giving him a couple of cursory strikes with the whip before running in behind horses up the straight, showing zero vigour and keeping his horse under a hold to the line.
The horse, who was a last-start winner in the same grade, beat only one home, and finished 2.7 lengths behind St Ransom who was under a heavy whip ride all the way up the home straight.
A veterinary examination of the Eddie Carson-trained Watch Your Man revealed nothing amiss and stewards adjourned their inquiry.
Subsequent investigations by the Racing Integrity Unit found Walker placed a cash bet, believed to be more than $500, on the head-to-head option – and , incredibly, he was later captured on CCTV collecting his winnings.
St Ransom closed at $1.80 but, while the price would have been slightly higher before Walker’s bet of several hundred dollars was placed, he still stood to barely double his money.
Walker is understood to have admitted to placing the bet but is sticking to the story he told stewards on the day that he was unable to do the horse justice because he had cramp in his hands, something he volunteered before the inquiry started.
But Walker will have some serious explaining to do given cases of jockeys cramping in their hands are almost non existent and, if it had happened, you would expect him to have relaxed his grip on the horse’s reins, if anything.
The Racing Integrity Unit has now begun investigating other rides by Walker but today served him with papers, charging him with a serious racing offence. It also sought from New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing the immediate withdrawal of his licence.
If found guilty under rule 801, which involves committing a dishonest and fraudulent act to do with racing or betting, he can be disqualified for any period, including life.
Walker was also charged with breaching rule 707, which relates to jockeys being able to back only the horses they ride.
RIU general manager Mike Godber said in view of the evidence collected and the seriousness of the charges, the RIU recommended to New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing that Walker’s licence be suspended immediately.
“The allegations before Mr Walker are serious and threaten the very fabric of thoroughbred racing.
“We therefore consider the continued participation of Mr Walker in racing prior to the JCA hearing would pose an unacceptable risk to the image, interests and integrity of racing,” Godber said.
The most high profile recent case of a jockey betting was in November, 2012 when champion Australian jockey Damien Oliver was banned for 10 months for backing a rival horse.
Oliver bet A$10,000 on the favourite and winner Miss Octopussy in a race at Moonee Valley, and rode the second favourite Europa Point into sixth place – but, unlike Walker’s case, there was no suggestion that he did not ride his horse on its merits.
The most recent breach here was in March, 2012, when southern jockey Shankar Muniandy was suspended for six weeks after being found to have twice bet paltry amonts on horses other than than the ones he was riding at Riccarton, one of which was a 120-to-one outsider with no chance.
Walker, who is in his 24th season of riding, has been a respected journeyman rider throughout his career and has recorded 872 wins, for stake earnings of more than $10.8 million.
He rode 40 winners last season and at times has featured much higher up the premiership ladder, kicking home 70 winners in 1993-94.
He has been associated with several of New Zealand’s pin-up gallopers from 1999 when he rode Cent Home to win the Kelt Stakes at Hastings.
He rode crack filly Legs to win the New Zealand Oaks in 2006, Porotene Gem to take the Levin Classic in 2006 and C’est La Guerre to bag the 2008 New Zealand Derby, one of many stars he has handled for Wanganui’s Kevin Myers, the latest last November’s Couplands Mile winner Scapolo.
His partnership with Myers dates back nearly 25 years when he started riding track work for the trainer as a schoolboy.
Walker’s father Jim was also a successful jockey.
The shocking revelations about Walker are expected to finally fuel a change to the rules on jockeys betting here. While riders in Australia are forbidden from betting on any horse races in the country, New Zealand authorities have repeatedly defended their rights to bet on horses they ride.
But for many years the RIU has lobbied against jockeys and drivers being able to bet – former RIU boss Cameron George tried for several years to change the rule but New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing rejected his pleas.
But earlier this year NZTR chief executive Greg Purcell said he hoped to introduce a ban this year on jockeys betting on all gallops races here.
With the increasing amount of revenue New Zealand received from international customers it was imperative that both the perception and reality of racing’s integrity was beyond reproach, he said.
An amended draft rule was circulated to industry bodies in April.
■ The rules for harness racing were tightened last March, prohibiting drivers from betting on races they compete in, HRNZ chief executive Edward Rennell declaring it was imperative that the public perception of racing was squeaky clean
The West AustralianJuly 8, 2014, 7:02 am
Perth Cup-winning trainer Shane Edwards was yesterday disqualified for 6½ years when stewards found him guilty on four charges into his handling of thoroughbreds he exported to Singapore between 2008 and 2013.
The year-long inquiry, which saw eight separate sittings, was concluded last week when Edwards’ counsel Tom Percy gave stewards a 13-page penalty submission for them to consider before delivering a penalty.
Stewards found Edwards guilty of engaging in conduct prejudicial to the image of racing, giving a misleading statement to investigator Phil O’Reilly, denying knowledge of transfers being signed for three horses and nominating Splitsville for two meetings with no intention of starting.
Edwards, 39, was disqualified for three years each on charges one and three, and six months for his dealings with O’Reilly on charge two.
Stewards fined Edwards $1500 for nominating Splitsville for race meetings on November 17 and 24, 2007, with his action being to ensure sufficient numbers for the race to proceed.
“The industry cannot afford to be cast publicly into the light as one that is lacking in proper regulation and order in matters of ownership of racehorses or that it is unable to properly self-regulate these areas,” RWWA’s general manager of racing integrity Denis Borovica said.
“The owners of racehorses are the lifeblood of the industry as it is through their investment in stock that the industry has the animals by which to race.
“The industry must actively and manifestly maintain their confidence at all times.
“It would be catastrophic to the industry to lose the trust and faith of owners as there would be significant potential for them to remove or reduce their level of investment in racehorses.
“It is easy to imagine how the industry was perceived to allow or not respond appropriately to conduct such as yours (Mr Edwards), how that would potentially discourage new entrants to the industry.”
Borovica said they would ask the Malayan Racing Association to reciprocate the bans.
Edwards, who prepared Guest Wing to win the 2011 Perth Cup, had worked as stable foreman to his father David, who was the private trainer to former Perth Racing chairman and Multiplex boss, the late John Roberts.
He was groomed to be a trainer from a teenager and had worked in Europe prior to getting his own licence.
Stewards today continued their inquiries into Licensed Jockey G Ryan’s handling of the 3rd placegetter Grey Pariz in Race 5, Class 2 Handicap (1320m) conducted at the City of Dubbo Turf Club’s meeting held at Dubbo Racecourse on Friday 20 June 2014.
Further evidence today was taken from G Ryan and Mr S Cunynghame trainer of Grey Pariz. Stewards also considered evidence in respect to betting on the race, which revealed no integrity concerns with Grey Pariz firming from it’s opening price of $3 and starting at $2.50. Evidence in respect to sectional times of the race in question and analysis of average times of races previously run over comparable distances at Dubbo racecourse were also considered along with the telephone records of both G Ryan and Mr Cunynghame, obtained under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979.
G Ryan was found guilty of a charge under AR135(b) in that as the rider of Grey Pariz, in Race 5 the Kings Hall Jewellers Class 2 Handicap, 1320 metres, at the City of Dubbo Turf Club meeting on the 20 June 2014, he did in the opinion of the Stewards fail to take all reasonable and permissible measures throughout the race to ensure that Grey Pariz was given full opportunity to win or to obtain the best possible place in the field, in that;
1. Upon jumping away he failed to ride his mount with vigour to attempt to take up a forward position in accordance with the usual racing pattern of Grey Pariz, which resulted in Grey Pariz being caught wide in the early stages and G Ryan restraining his mount approaching the 1200m and racing at the back of the field.
2. Between the 400m and the 200m in all the circumstances, he rode his mount with insufficient vigour when it was reasonable and permissible for him to have ridden his mount with full vigour between the 400m and 200m.
After giving due regard to G Ryan’s experience as a jockey, having ridden in excess of 15,000 races, and all other matters pertinent to penalty, including precedent penalties for breaches under AR135(b), G Ryan’s licence to ride in races was suspended for a period of 6 weeks to commence on Wednesday 9 July 2014 and to expire on Wednesday 20 August 2014, on which day he may ride.
G Ryan was advised of his appeal rights.
Clip on YouTube titled ‘Jockey gamblers fixing a race’
The British jockey that was at the centre of a major scandal in India last year is again in the headlines after an alleged telephone conversation between him and another jockey appeared on YouTube.
Martin Dwyer was given an eight month ban by Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) stewards when finishing a close third on fancied runner Ice Age at Mumbai’s Mahalaxmi racecourse in February last year.
Click here to read ‘Irate Indian punters try to lynch beaten UK jockey’.
Click here to read ‘British jockey appeals eight-month ban in India’.
Click here to read ‘British authorities dismiss jockey’s Indian ban’.
Dwyer has again under the spotlight after an alleged telephone conversation between himself and fellow jockey Paul Mulrennan was published on YouTube on June 21.
The conversation centres around the 2010 Eclipse Stakes of India. The audio is an individual, allegedly Dwyer, telling Mulrennan that the horse he is riding cannot win the race and he will be backing the eventual winner Icebreaker.
Click here to hear the audio file (some language is offensive), uploaded by an unknown individual going under the title of ‘Tracksuit Dave’, on YouTube.
The recording was sent to RWITC stewards, the riders, the British Horse Racing Authority (BHA) and Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) last year.
The RWITC recently informed the BHA and the jockeys that no disciplinary action would be taken.
“We are aware of the audio recording and the fact it has now been posted publicly does not alter our approach to this matter,” The BHA’s media manager Robin Mounsey told the Racing Post.
“In the first instance the matter was the subject of an investigation by RWITC. That process was recently concluded.”
“It is BHA policy never to comment on our own investigations or speculation surrounding possible investigations.”
The PJA issued a statement saying both Dwyer and Mulrennan we’re “happy to co-operate with the RWITC but had a number of questions before they were willing to fly to India to be interviewed”.
“The RWITC have informed the jockeys they will not be able to ride there this winter until they travel to India to be interviewed,” the statement said.
The family of murdered drug trafficker and horse-racing identity Stephen Ramon Cookson have scattered the remaining ashes of his head over Flemington Racecourse.
Cookson’s head was found washed up on Rottnest Island in a plactic bag by an 11-year-old girl on January 6, 2013.
Don’t be surprised to see some very strange results in future race meetings run on the Flemington racecourse. There might be a few horses and old trainers & jockeys being haunted down the straight of Flemington in many years to come.
Aaron Carlino, 29, has been charged with the murder of Stephen Ramon Cookson. Cookson’s head was found washed up in a plastic bag at Rottnest Island.
The agonising moment I faced the jockey who stole my husband on live television: Channel 4 racing host’s affair heartbreak
- Emma Spencer was working away from home when husband started affair
- Jamie Spencer invited fellow jockey Hayley Turner back to family mansion
- Racing correspondent Emma now faces interviewing pair live on television
- The 36-year-old could speak with them after race at Royal Ascot next week
It is a tale straight from the pages of a Jilly Cooper bonkbuster.
A champion jockey cheats on his beautiful blonde wife – a top racing correspondent – with Britain’s best woman jockey, who also happens to be his training partner.
And, of course, he gets found out.
Emma Spencer, the glamorous face of flat racing on Channel 4, was filming away from home when her husband Jamie Spencer invited racing pin-up Hayley Turner back to the six-bedroom family mansion in Newmarket.
The pair – who both worked with the Queen’s trainer Michael Bell – were already close, but this time Jamie broke the marriage vows he made five years earlier.
In the horsey set, which is notoriously incestuous and riven with gossip, nothing stays secret for long and Emma soon learned of the tryst.
Headstrong and utterly loyal, she was incandescent at her husband’s betrayal and demanded a divorce.
‘Trust is, and always has been, a very big thing for me in my life,’ she says, sadly, as we discuss the affair over lunch at Newmarket. ‘If that is broken it is very difficult for me to go back.’
So it was understandably distressing when, in the bitter aftermath of the affair in 2010, she was asked to interview Miss Turner live on air after a 40-1 win; a request that would strike many as insensitive if not downright astonishing.
But she point-blank refused to speak to her rival and Channel 4 bosses drafted in a replacement at the last minute.
It was some time before Emma conquered this understandable reluctance, but she has since interviewed Hayley on camera and now says: ‘Post-race interviews are part of my job with Channel 4 and that is what I had to keep uppermost in my mind – personal feelings had to be put aside.’
Someone who is instinctively discreet, it took Emma the best part of four years to steady herself in the face of a very public humiliation – and only now is she willing to talk about it.
‘I wanted to avoid any unnecessary tensions on screen and with my marriage break-up still raw, one of my colleagues stood in for me.’
Now the three players in this sad drama are to be thrown back together at Royal Ascot, with Jamie and Hayley riding in the hope of a place in the Winners’ Enclosure and Emma waiting by the side of the track to interview whomever triumphs. It has the potential to be rather awkward, particularly given Emma’s unguarded comments.
‘It remains difficult between Hayley and I’, she said recently, adding: ‘I don’t have anything to do with her. She does her riding and I do my work. We don’t speak and I have no difficulties with that.’
It is a far cry from the days when Jamie and Emma were dubbed the ‘Posh and Becks’ of racing.
Doyens of racing’s hard-partying social scene, they shared a £2million mansion, Grange House Stables, in Newmarket, Suffolk, with their three children – now eight, seven, and five.
Emma, the Uppingham-educated daughter of legendary 80s gambler Jack Ramsden, says: ‘Jamie had a plane and one day, on my birthday, I had to get to Haydock Park – which is always log-jammed with traffic – to cover a race. As there’s a landing area at the course, Jamie told me I could take the plane.’
It was one of many larks they enjoyed together, but four years ago cracks began to appear, and the burgeoning friendship between Jamie and Hayley, 31, developed into a full-blown affair. It is a matter of enduring regret for Jamie, 32, regarded on the circuit as a ‘wild’ Irishman who is nevertheless utterly devoted to his children.
Hayley Turner (above) and Jamie split up soon after the affair was discovered
He has previously said: ‘I made a monumental error of judgment and now have to live with it. What I did is hard to explain. There’s not a day goes by that I don’t think of the catastrophic consequences of my stupidity. It’s hard, day in, day out.’
He went on to say: ‘I found the one person, but overnight it was all gone. Some evenings I think hard about it and can never find the reason why it happened. A huge error of judgment cost me all the things I wanted from a young age. A day doesn’t go by without me thinking about it.’
Emma, however, is adamant that the marriage is over for good. She says she would never consider another relationship with a jockey, adding: ‘I was 23 when I met Jamie. Dating and marrying a jockey – or someone in horse racing – seemed inevitable at that stage in my life.
‘But it is a very close-knit and gossipy world. Everyone knows your business and that can be tough when you are going through a very difficult situation. I want to find someone outside this business.
‘Maybe Mr Right is out there for me somewhere. It’s fair to say I am paddling my own canoe at the moment, but I hope that one day I will find someone special. I am extra cautious about any relationship because of the children. I wouldn’t introduce them to anyone I was having a relationship with until I was very sure it was a long-term thing.’
Most women would feel a sense of bitterness at being forced to watch their husband’s mistress continue to compete alongside him.
And it is telling that while Emma insists she has now ‘moved on’, she most certainly does not wish to be friends with the woman who wrecked her marriage.
But nor does she want to confront Hayley. ‘No, I have never discussed what happened with her,’ she says softly. ‘What would it achieve? I’m not a confrontational person and I don’t see the point in holding a grudge.’
So if that means congratulating Hayley on a win next week, Emma says she will take it in her stride. ‘It would be unprofessional to let outside factors get in the way, I have moved on,’ she says.
‘It’s all too easy for people to tune into racing and assume that I am the token blonde, that I’m some kind of bimbo. But I’ve been brought up in this world, my parents were successful trainers and I know a lot about this business.
‘I work incredibly hard at being good at my job and looking after my children, those are my priorities.’ Emma insists she and her former husband are now on good terms, saying: ‘Of course when he is in a race I will be cheering him on.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2658100/The-agonising-moment-I-faced-jockey-stole-husband-live-television-Channel-4-racing-hosts-affair-heartbreak.html#ixzz34nsJzQyq
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