Michael Duffy to see out fixing probe
- BY:BRENDAN CORMICK
- From:The Australian
- August 20, 2012 12:00AM
THE race-fixing investigation that has rocked Australian racing is set to affect the transition of power at Racing Victoria.
Chairman Michael Duffy is poised to defer his withdrawal from the board’s top post for the second time this year as a result of the allegations stemming from evidence gathered during the investigation into the murder of racehorse owner Les Samba.
Duffy was to have handed over the reins to vice-chairman, bloodstock consultant Rob Roulston this year, but he stayed on to see through the broadcasting rights deal for industry television channel TVN.
Now, instead of stepping back at Racing Victoria’s annual general meeting in November, the former politician will remain at the helm into next year as the Victoria Police probe continues.
The federal member for Holt from 1980 to 1996, during which time he served as federal attorney-general, Duffy took over as chairman of Racing Victoria in 2007 after serving as deputy to Graham Duff.
He was one of the shareholders in Bel Esprit, the sire of Black Caviar.
Current chief executive Rob Hines was also to leave in November after five years in the role, but his part in the TVN broadcast rights deal, which sees the aggregation of all NSW and Victorian race vision led to him extending his contract until the end of the year.
Racing Victoria is seeking legal advice on its rights, as the state’s peak racing body, to stand down licensed persons suspected of being involved in race-fixing, before the laying of charges by police or stewards.
Jockey Chris Symons, who celebrated his 30th birthday with a winning double at Caulfield on Saturday, has been outspoken as a “clean skin” being tarred by the allegations.
He chose the Racing For The Future website to vent his frustration in a blog.
“It’s been a disappointing start to season 2012-13 for all jockeys in Victoria with the confronting story of racing corruption and fixed races airing on the ABC’s Four Corners earlier this week.
“Unfortunately these negative reports seem to always surface at the beginning of our major carnivals.
“These latest allegations, whether they are eventually proven to be true or false, will have a massive negative impact on our industry as a whole; they tarnish the reputation of all jockeys nationally, not just the select few named in media reports.
“I have personally worked my arse off for 12 years to get to where I am today, and have made sure that I have earned a reputation of honesty and always trying my best in the saddle.
“I have never been approached or involved in any corrupt behaviour.”