Racing: Authorities to bring whip down hard on industry cheats

Jockey Damien Oliver. Photo / NZPA
Jockey Damien Oliver. Photo / NZPA

Racing authorities have confirmed tough minimum penalties for offences ranging from tubing horses to betting by jockeys in the wake of the scandal-plagued spring carnival.

First-time offenders who break the rules relating to tubing horses within 24 hours of a race will be disqualified for at least 12 months.

Jockeys found guilty of betting will be hit with an automatic two-year ban compared to the 10 months Damien Oliver is currently serving after admitting to placing a bet on the winner of a race in which he rode the second favourite.

On Thursday, Victoria's Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board handed Sydney trainer Con Karakatsanis a nine-month ban for intending to treat Howmuchdoyouloveme via a stomach tube before the horse raced on November 3. His father Tony, a licensed stablehand, was outed for two years.

The rule concerning the tubing of horses, usually to administer bicarbonate, was recently changed from raceday treatment to 24 hours before a horse races.

A minimum three-year ban applies to anyone found guilty of not letting a horse run on its merits and five years for attempting to corrupt the outcome of a race. "Penalties are an essential element in deterring cheats and maintaining public confidence," Australian Racing Board chief executive Peter McGauran said.

"The penalties announced send the strongest and clearest signal yet to offenders that they will pay a heavy price for cheating the system.

"This is especially the case for repeat offenders who have no place in the industry. Whilst first time offenders will suffer a heavy enough penalty as it is, repeat offenders will face penalties in excess of the minimum in keeping with the intent of the rules." Other minimum bans include two years for using or attempting to use an electronic device on a horse and six months for the administration of medication on raceday without the approval of stewards.

The ARB says the minimum disqualification must be applied unless there is a finding of special circumstance to be determined under the local rules of an individual racing jurisdiction.

Karakatsanis was one of five trainers charged during the spring carnival with tubing offences while investigations into betting by jockeys are ongoing.

- AAP

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