Arrests over alleged trots race fixing

Four people have reportedly been arrested at one of Australia’s biggest harness race meetings as part of a race-fixing investigation at Victorian meets.

Victoria Police arrested the four in connection to a year-long race-fixing investigation following the Breeders Crown meeting at Melton on Sunday night, Fairfax and News Corp report.

Harness Racing Victoria on Monday said a race in Cobram in June 2015 is at the centre of the investigation.

HRV’s integrity department began an investigation shortly after the race and then handed the matter over to police in November.

Chairman Dale Monteith says he fully supports the police swoop at the Breeders Crown as it sends a clear message to people in the industry who’ve been “crying out” for action.

In relation to the timing of the arrests, Mr Monteith added that a number of the people involved lived outside Victoria but were in Melton on Sunday.

Mr Monteith, who ran the Victoria Racing Club from 2000 to 2012, was appointed to chair the HRV board in March this year.

Victorian Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna says race-fixing is rare in the state.

“This shows that Harness Racing Victoria is on the ball,” Mr Perna told AAP on Monday.

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“They’ve picked up something that’s suspicious and the system that’s in place has worked.”

HRV investigated the case and sent it on to Victoria Police’s specialist sporting integrity unit which co-ordinated Sunday’s arrests.

NSW Police also has a casino and racing investigation unit but no other jurisdiction in Australia has a specialist sports squad.

“So from a lot of perspectives this is a positive,” Mr Perna said.

“It (alleged race-fixing) is rare. There’s nothing to suggest we’ve got a systemic issue.”

Mr Perna said there’d now been two instances of “this type of behaviour” and both had been detected by the racing bodies.

“Both have been successfully handled,” he said.

“The relationship we’ve got with Victoria Police is a very strong one and they’ve been able to come in, in both instances, so we think we’re doing OK.”

Celebrated Mildura trainer Shayne Cramp fixed the outcome of a race in late 2014 with his father Greg Cramp in order to win a bet.

Both were sentenced to community service in September 2015 after pleading guilty to engaging in conduct to corrupt a betting outcome.

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