What is happening to New Zealand's racing industry?

Police have executed search warrants and raided a number of properties in Christchurch, Invercargill and Manawatu.

It's part of a long-running investigation into alleged harness racing corruption and, while there have been a small number of arrests so far, it can't be good for the image of the sport as a whole.

Read more: Racing: More charged in race-fixing case
Seven race-fixing accused banned from every racecourse in NZ
Harness racing race-fixing, corruption probe prompts police raids


Some years ago I was at a party in Australia where I met a local jockey who was due to ride in an upcoming race.

I asked if I should place a bet on him and he said, more or less: "Don't bother, it's not my turn [to win]." He was serious - but that was Australia.

Allegations of race-fixing here are not new but they have generally been dismissed as urban myth or a blokeish joke.

But what if it's true? What if there have been harness races where the outcome was predetermined and the drivers were just playing a part in a sporting farce?

Of course, Harness Racing NZ should take the matter seriously and thank goodness we have the Racing Integrity Unit to bring offending to light and keep it honest, but can we be sure that every race has been above board?

If not, that bodes ill for the betting public, because they could have been duped out of their money - scammed, conned, call it what you will. It all means they could have been dishonestly separated from their funds if a winner was decided before the race began.

The upside of this is that the racing industry in New Zealand is huge and is run mostly by honest people with good intentions and a love for the sport.

If there has been race-fixing in the trots, or gallops, for that matter, it would be a tiny fraction of all the race meetings in all the jockey clubs in all the country.


And to brand an entire industry because of the actions of a few would be an over-reaction.