Kiwis can still punt on New Zealand harness racing despite the developing race-fixing scandal.
National betting agency TAB has confirmed that bet options and odds will open at 5.30pm tonight for tomorrow's scheduled Cambridge Harness meeting.
And a night meeting at Addington Raceway in Christchurch will still go ahead, even though some high-profile drivers due to race have been caught up in Operation Inca – a major long-running police probe that resulted in stables and properties being raided in Christchurch, Invercargill and Manawatu yesterday.
A total of seven people have been charged, including a promising young driver accused of fixing a race in Nelson back in June.
The 26-year-old shed hand of Woodend Beach, 25kms north of Christchurch, briefly appeared at Christchurch District Court this morning before his case was adjourned to 2.15pm.
Two other top drivers, who the Herald understands have been spoken to by police – Blair Orange and John Dunn, are still scheduled on the TAB's website to race at Addington on Friday night.
Today, the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB), the organisation behind all racing in New Zealand, and the national tote, TAB, refused to say if refunds would be given to punters if races were proven to have been fixed.
However, it confirmed that betting will continue on domestic harness race meets.
NZRB chair Glenda Hughes said while the race-fixing allegations are "disappointing", the police action shows that the racing integrity system is working.
Police inquiries came after information from the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU), an independent body charged with maintaining integrity in the sport.
"The value of having an independent integrity body focused on investigating and prosecuting any alleged impropriety is reinforced in this action," said Hughes.
NZRB chief executive John Allen said those involved in the industry, and Kiwi punters who support it, must have confidence in the integrity of the sport
"I am confident that our integrity systems work and that where alleged breaches of our rules and of criminal law are identified, they are investigated and prosecuted appropriately," he said.
NZRB refused to comment further while the matters are before the courts.