Victorian horse racing authorities say they will take swift action if given evidence that a jockey bet on another horse in a race he was riding in.
Fairfax reported that a prominent Australian jockey, who was not identified, bet thousands of dollars on a rival horse to win a race in which he was riding at a metropolitan Melbourne track within the past two years.
Racing Victoria chief executive Rob Hines said the organisation had no knowledge of the allegation or the source of the claim.
“If evidence is provided to Racing Victoria to support this allegation then swift action will be taken by the stewards under the rules of racing,” Mr Hines said in a statement on Wednesday.
Quoting an unnamed source from wagering company Betfair, the Fairfax report also said a major investigation was being conducted into suspicious “lay betting” – where a punter backs a horse not to come in first – involving more than two dozen races and another leading jockey.
Mr Hines said Racing Victoria and wagering operators stringently monitored betting on more than 4000 races annually.
“As part of this process, we regularly investigate betting on specific races where there may be an abnormal pattern of activity and if required will open an inquiry to further our investigations,” he said.
Both Mr Hines and Betfair said they would not comment on specific investigations and Betfair denied it had launched an investigation into lay betting.
Betfair CEO Giles Thompson said the company had provided a number of betting records to investigative authorities.
“Contrary to what has been reported today, these records do not relate specifically to ‘lay betting’ nor has Betfair launched any investigation into ‘lay betting’ activity,” Mr Thompson said in a statement.
Victorian police are already investigating an allegation a race run at Cranbourne last April was fixed.
The matter was investigated by racing stewards on the day of the race, but legal restrictions have prevented them from launching further official inquiries.
Mr Hines said police were not in a position to provide stewards with the relevant evidence but once it was made available a stewards inquiry would be opened.
Racing authorities are limited to questioning licensed people, such as jockeys and trainers, and can’t compel others such as punters and members of the public to attend an inquiry.