Sports

Harness racing stars charged with match-fixing

Three high-profile members of Queensland's harness racing industry have been arrested and charged with match-fixing.

Detectives from the state's Racing Crime Squad and Racing Integrity Commission charged premier driver Shane Graham, Leonard Cain and trainer Vicki Rasmussen on Saturday morning as part of an ongoing investigation into the industry.

Police allege the trio took part in rigging Race 2 on July 28 at Albion Park.

Mr Graham and Mr Rasmussen have also been charged with allegedly fixing Race 7 on October 6 at the same track.

"These arrests should be a significant warning to anybody who's involved in any of the racing codes in Queensland or elsewhere that if you participate in criminal activity such as match-fixing or sharing insider information with betting, you will be investigated," Detective Inspector Mick Dowie said.

"It doesn't matter who you are, you will be charged and put before the court."

As the state's leading harness driver, Mr Graham was selected to represent Australia in the World Driving Championship in Canada this year.

Mr Rasmussen is considered to be one of Queensland's strongest trainers.

The Racing Integrity Commission has suspended the licences of Mr Graham and Mr Cain.

Police said charges were also imminent for a fourth man who used inside information to turn a profit in the high thousands during the two races.

Detectives said three of the state's top six drivers were now facing match-fixing offences, with a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.

All three offenders will front the Beenleigh Magistrates Court in January.

'Stealing from honest, hard-working people'

Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said match-fixing of any kind damages the reputation of the sport.

"What it really is in its heart is cheating and stealing," Mr Barnett said.

"These people are stealing prize money from other participants in other races who are honest, hard-working people who are just seeking a fair go."

The Racing Integrity Commission was set up in the wake of the greyhound live baiting scandal.

The body was a recommendation of the inquiry into Queensland's racing industry, and was tasked with restoring integrity to state's racing codes.

Original Article

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