NZ Racing Board asked to suspend bet option
New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing will today ask the New Zealand Racing Board to suspend head-to-head betting until the end of the month in the wake of the David Walker betting scandal.
And NZTR chief executive Greg Purcell has also signalled that while revised new rules will soon allow jockeys to bet only on days when they are not riding, he expects a total ban on jockeys betting here could be in force by the end of the year.
Concern over the TAB's fixed odds bet, which allowed punters to back one horse against another and collect even if they finish out of the money, rose to a new level yesterday when the Racing Integrity Unit laid two more charges against Walker.
He has since admitted to taking a second head-to-head bet.
Purcell said thoroughbred racing's controlling body wanted to move quickly to suspend head-to-head betting by the TAB to give them time to consult with the RIU and racing board on its merits or otherwise.
Purcell said it was an opportune time to undertake a thorough review of the bet type which is coming in for widespread criticism for openly inviting corrupt behaviour by licence holders.
Purcell said the new jockey betting rule was with the racing minister being gazetted for an imminent release.
''But we also intend to undertake a further review to rule 707 on whether we should go further and impose a total ban on jockeys betting.
''The last time we went out to the industry on a per se ban, that position was opposed by the jockeys' association and trainers' association and a number of other stakeholders.
''But they agreed to support a proposal to ban riders betting on days when they ride.
''My expectation is that the previous opposition to the total ban as we originally proposed will have dissipated in the light of the current allegations.''
Purcell said the review would be completed in two months.
When asked if he was concerned about the practice of jockeys betting illegally being more widespread, Purcell said he had complete confidence in the integrity system in New Zealand.
''The RIU has done a good job investigating the Walker case and I am not anticipating any further charges at this stage.''