Infamous Fine Cotton ring-in trainer Hayden Haitana dead at 72

Hayden Hiatana

Hayden Haitana, the trainer linked to the Fine Cotton scandal, has died in South Australia.

The ex-pat New Zealander was at the epicentre of Australia’s most infamous betting plunge, where the under-performing Fine Cotton was substituted by the better-credentialled Bold Personality for a race at Brisbane’s Eagle Farm in 1984.

Bold Personality had been painted and daubed with hair dye in a bid to resemble Fine Cotton, who had been backed heavily to win.

Stewards uncovered the ruse soon after the ring-in returned to scale after being first past the post.

Haitana, who had lived in South Australia for several decades, was aged 72 when he died last week on the Eyre Peninsula.

His daughter Mandy, one of his three children, posted a tribute on social media.

“How do I say goodbye to you forever? Never hear another one of your stories, go driving with you on one of your short cuts or crazy adventures when you would try so hard to stay out of trouble — but trouble would always fine (sic) you!

“It’s hard to swallow the fact that we will have no more moments with you so the memories we do have will always be special.”

Fine Cotton Ring In
Bold Personality racing as Fine Cotton gets across the line first the in August 1984 at Eagle Farm

Haitana was jailed and banned from Australian racecourses for life following an investigation.

The ban was lifted by the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board in 2013.

Haitana’s memorial service will be held at the Gawler & Barossa Racing Club on Saturday.

The fallout from Fine Cotton scandal

  • Hayden Haitana was jailed for six months and banned from Australian racecourses for life. The ban was lifted in 2013
  • John Gillespie, the man who hatched the plot when he met Haitana’s brother Pat in prison, was also jailed
  • Bookmakers Bill Waterhouse and his son Robbie Waterhouse – the husband of legendary trainer Gai Waterhouse – were banned for 14 years
  • Fine Cotton never raced after the scandal.
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