David Walker admits second head-to-head bet
Fears that jockey David Walker's illegal bet was not an isolated case were realised yesterday with news that he has admitted placing a head-to-head bet on another rival two weeks earlier.
Walker was last week charged with betting against his mount Watch Your Man at Awapuni on August 16 in a fixed odds head-to-head wager with St Ransom and deliberately not riding his own horse out.
The Racing Integrity Unit has said it put Walker on notice that they would be checking video replays of other recent races that he had ridden in and yesterday it confirmed it had laid two further charges against the Central Districts rider.
RIU operations manager Mike Godber said Walker had now formally admitted also taking a head-to-head bet at Waverley on July 31.
The more recent charges are understood to relate to claims that Walker, 38, rode the Stacey Dougan-trained Lil Mer in the Winter Cup, and beat only two horses home, profiting from his bet on rival Sam I Am, who finished seventh, four lengths ahead of him.
Godber told Fairfax Media Walker had admitted the charges of betting on horses other than the one he was riding, but he will defend the charges of not riding his own mounts on their merits.
Walker told stipendiary stewards on the day at Awapuni that he had been unable to ride out Watch Your Man because he got cramp in his right hand.
Stewards opened an inquiry into the race, concerned at the lack of vigour he showed all the way up the home straight when his mount ran second last, 2.7 lengths behind St Ransom, who was under a heavy whip ride from the 300m.
It is not known what explanation Walker has offered for his earlier ride on Lil Mer, who was quickly in the rear group and made no ground in the straight.
Godber said Walker told his investigators that the two occasions cited were the only times he had broken the betting rules which allow a jockey to back only the horse they are riding.
It appears that Walker would have had little option than to plead guilty to the betting charges.
Fairfax Media understands the RIU has CCTV footage capturing Walker both placing bets of more than $500 on Watch Your Man, and later collecting his winnings.
Walker can only be banned for up to 12 months on the betting charge but if found guilty under rule 801, which involves committing a dishonest and fraudulent act, he could be disqualified for any period up to life.
The RIU has said it is continuing to investigate Walker in advance of his hearing which has been set down for September 18.
Walker, who is in his 24th season riding and has notched 872 wins, has been stood down from race riding until the hearing, but is still permitted to ride trackwork and at trials.