15 October 2012

Journalists discuss racing corruption revelations

Explosive matters are canvassed in depth in Shane Anderson's interview today on RSN with Nick McKenzie of The Age. The interview reveals:
  • The Age has known about the Oliver allegations for "a little while".
  • The Age did not know that Racing Victoria Stewards were investigating the Miss Octopussy event (see above).
  • McKenzie gave Damien Oliver the opportunity to deny the allegations before The Age went to press but Oliver would only offer "no comment". McKenzie said Oliver "does not address the central allegation in his statement".
  • on the Smoking Aces affair, McKenzie expects criminal charges to be laid after Victorian Police were at Caulfield last week "asking about the Smoking Aces affair and other bits and pieces".
  • Another race is under stewards investigation from February this year.
  • Most races are above board but authorities "are kidding themselves" if they don't think up to 30 races might be involved.
Anderson asked McKenzie what he expects will happen next in the Smoking Aces inquiries:
"If I was a betting man I'd be betting there'll be criminal charges laid in relation to race-fixing allegations. What form those criminal charges will take I have no idea, the Police certainly won't tell me. [...] What I do know is Detectives have been getting statements from key people. Asking about the lead up to the Smoking Aces race.[...]
"I'd be betting in any murder investigation there's probably some phone taps out there. That's a guess, I've no knowledge of that but I'd say it's a safe bet. [...] The two key issues on Smoking Aces are who punted? What happened in the lead up to the race?
McKenzie is also aware of one other race under scrutiny:
"We know the stewards are investigating the run of (inaudible) in February this year. This is a horse part-owned by a guy called Peter Jones, a millionaire racehorse owner in Western Australia. The interesting thing about that is Peter Jones is one of the blokes who punted on Smoking Aces."
That makes three races now under investigation. Is this the thin edge of the wedge? Or just three little bad appleseeds?
"We know that it's a couple of races that the authorities are looking at because they have specific information. But that's police falling over this information.
"If its just one or two races that authorities have fallen over in the course of their investigations, what else have they missed?
"I'm not saying it's every race. It would be stupid to say that and the majority of races of course would be above board.
"But you're kidding yourself if with an open mind it's going to be involving twenty or thirty races. 
"Is that systemic? Probably not. Is it organized? Probably not. Is it a big problem? Yes."
Walkley winning radio. Listen to the full podcast here: http://bit.ly/P3oaYl 

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