By Jack Anderson, Special Counsel – Integrity Regulation, Racing Victoria ; and Brant Dunshea, Chief Regulatory Officer, British Horseracing Authority
This article reviews two recent racing integrity investigations, one from Britain and one from Australia involving allegations that jockeys conspired to supply privileged information to others for mutual financial gain and to the detriment of their sport. The article examines why the jockeys did what they did, how they did it, with whom, and what happened when charged. A key point is that the threat to racing integrity is most likely to emerge from within: when participants manipulate the conditions of a sporting contest and the regulated betting markets. In so doing, such individuals also undermine the trust and confidence of the sporting and wagering public to the detriment of the industry as a whole.
In December 2022 and January 2023, the Independent Judicial Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) considered charges brought against several individuals in relation to a betting corruption case identified by the BHA Integrity and Regulatory teams.
Former licensed jockey Danny Brock was charged with committing a fraudulent or corrupt practice in relation to racing by agreeing not to ride, and then not riding, a horse on its merits on three occasions from December 2018 to September 2019, in the knowledge that the others charged in the case would bet on the outcome. Brock was also charged with passing inside information that he would not ride the horses on their merits, to the others. He was also charged with specific riding offences regarding his failure to run the horses on their merits and to ride to achieve the best possible placing.
Several other individuals were charged with the same conspiracy but were not currently registered persons within the sport as they had been excluded for failing to comply with telephone production orders and/or requests to attend interviews since early 2020.
Though several individuals failed to provide telephone records to the BHA, despite request, clear evidence of communication and connections between the parties was relied upon. This included telephone records of the others, individual betting account activities taking place through the same devices and internet service providers, and various admissions and false denials established through interviews.
The BHA also relied on replay footage of the corrupt rides and pointed to rides which lacked any urgency and were contrary to the trainer’s instructions. Two of these rides involved the horse Mochalov. The BHA pointed to five other occasions on which Brock rode Mochalov energetically and in accordance with trainer’s instructions; on these occasions the bettors involved had not layed the horse to a significant extent and instead backed it.
The third corrupt ride was the key to the case. This involved Brock’s ride aboard Samovar in a two-horse, five-furlong race at Southwell. Samovar missed the break spectacularly as Brock was late removing the blind from the horse and then failed to correct the horse’s path as it broke left. He overcorrected, steering the horse to the right, and Samovar was then allowed to coast home with no attempt to retrieve the significant ground lost.
Betting of those involved in the conspiracy on the two Mochalov races was unusual. In the Samovar race it was quite extraordinary. The largest bet on two of the individuals’ Betfair accounts was on Samovar’s sole opponent. Combined, three of the individuals involved in the conspiracy took 51% of the profit on the race on the Betfair sportsbook. Three of the individuals’ accounts involved in the conspiracy generally displayed in-running laying and backing to produce no-lose situations, but this approach was ignored to support Samovar’s opponent in the Southwell race.
The Panel found Danny Brock to have intentionally failed to ride to achieve the best possible placing and to have done so for personal reward, in the knowledge that the horses had been layed to lose. He was found to have done so persistently and also to have passed inside information regarding the races, and was disqualified for 15 years.
Another individual, Luke Olley, was in the BHA’s view at the centre of the conspiracy, but his involvement was the most difficult to resolve. The BHA could produce no betting history for him as, at least in the BHA’s view, he used others to place his bets for him. The Panel found aspects of his behaviour “undoubtedly very suspicious” but stated suspicion is not enough to prove a case. It was not established that he directed the conspiracy, only that he had the capacity to do so, and the case was not proved to the Panel’s satisfaction. He remains excluded for failure to co-operate and the Panel noted that should he seek to lift that exclusion he would have to satisfy the authority “in some detail” about the suspicions surrounding him.
In conclusion, this case establishes a clear precedent that direct contact between a jockey and those involved in a conspiracy is not required to prove a case like this. It is enough to establish indirect connections between jockey and bettors, particularly in a case built on extraordinary betting patterns and one particularly egregious ride. It illustrates the usefulness of identifying races in which the jockey is not alleged to have failed to ride a horse on its merits, but in which betting patterns suggest connections between bettors and the passing of inside information about the prospects of a horse. In this case, the BHA had identified three corrupt rides and six additional rides where the bettors supported the horse and the jockey in question clearly rode to win.
The case also highlights yet again the importance of racing/sports regulators having professional resources in-house to monitor and act on betting activities relevant to their participants and the sport. Further, it highlights the value in entering into information-sharing agreements with betting operators to protect the integrity of the sport to the benefit of the sport, the betting operator, and other bettors legitimately engaged in the market.
On 17 January2023, Stewards at Racing New South Wales (RNSW) charged licensed jockey Tommy Berry with six breaches of the Australian Rules of Racing.
The five charges related to the rules mandating that jockeys must not accept any money, gifts, or other consideration in connection with a horse in a race without consent of the Stewards; must not have or use a mobile phone in the jockey’s room without consent of the Stewards; and the “catch-all” offence of conduct prejudicial to the image, interests or integrity of racing.
The charges were:
• that in March 2022, Berry tipped a horse he was riding, Waterford to a Mr Zaid Miller, who won AUD 28,790 with winning bets on Waterford. The key allegation was that Miller then offered to provide a consideration (known colloquially in Australia as ’a sling’) to Berry, indirectly, via paying AUD 5,000 into Berry’s mother’s bank account. The Stewards further alleged that Berry accepted the offer and used the money in part to repair his mother’s house;
• that in a similar scheme in a race later in March 2022, Miller was alleged to have deposited almost AUD 10,000 into the Berry bank account after winning AUD 43,715 on a Berry ride;
• that between 14 October 2021 and 21 September 2022, Berry had on approximately 70 separate occasions in his possession a mobile phone in the jockeys’ room at various locations during race meetings;
• that between the same dates Berry had used a mobile telephone in the jockeys’ room at various locations on more than 300 occasions; and
• here were two further “catch-all” charges related to both the alleged accepting payments and the misuse of telephone, making six charges in all
In relation to the inappropriate use of a telephone, a message alleged to have been sent by Berry to Miller on WhatsApp had come to light on a public website in December 2022. The message stated
“You know the worst thing, he told me it would win before I got on him * wanted to call you on the way to the gates* he sent me his other one forward to put on the pace! Didn’t think he would do that because James was on BB Roy.”
This was in reference to a race at Randwick Racecourse on 2 October 2021 in which Berry rode the winner and Stewards argued that Berry’s conduct was prejudicial to the image, interests or integrity of racing as it conveyed the impression that the integrity of the race had been compromised.
Berry was found guilty of all charges and in total was disqualified for 11 months and 2 weeks, from 17January 2023. He appealed both the findings of guilt for charges 1, 2 and 5;and the severity of the penalty imposed upon him for the remainder of the charges.
Berry’s appeals were dismissed as no fresh evidence had been introduced, though the Panel did linger a little longer as to whether Berry’s conduct in relation to accepting payments was detrimental to the image of racing.
Guided by a previous court case in NSW,the Appeals Panel noted that one element in a charge relating to prejudice to the image of racing is public knowledge – if few know about the conduct, then the image of racing cannot be impugned by that misconduct. To support their case, Racing NSW pointed to an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 10 October 2022, which referred to an investigation into Berry’s conduct (and a number of other named jockeys), including whether they had “improper dealings” with “big gamblers”. Given this, the appeal to this charge was also dismissed.
Berry also appealed for reduction in penalty, arguing among other factors that he did not directly accept any payments and the actions were out of character. Racing NSW submitted, among other arguments, that the penalties were not out of line with similar punishments in other cases and that an example needed to be set. The penalties related to the two charges of accepting payments and the two charges of prejudicial conduct were slightly reduced, principally because Berry was a person of good character and the Panel considered it to be “highly unlikely” he would breach such rules again.
With regard to the mobile phone charges the Appeals Panel noted that no integrity issues were involved because most of the phone calls made by Berry during the material period were to his wife, but the appeal was dismissed because the offending was so extensive and frequent, and the Appeals Panel accepted Racing NSW’s general point that, although not realised here, the risk of allowing jockeys to be contactable in the jockeys’ room highlighted some serious integrity concerns.
Zaid Miller – who had allegedly made the payments into Berry’s mother’s bank account – was also found guilty of four charges, two relating to committing or requesting another person to commit a breach of the rules, conduct prejudicial to racing and improper conduct towards a Steward. These were upheld on appeal although the penalties slightly reduced and Miller was disqualified for 12 months.
Finally, in conjunction with Berry, two other jockeys, Jordan Mallyon and Jack Martin were charged with various offences including betting on thoroughbred races and giving misleading evidence to stewards. Another jockey, Kayla Nisbet, was charged with two offences of accepting money from punter-owner Jacob Hoffman,and also for giving false or misleading evidence to stewards. Hoffman was also issued with charges relating to offering jockeys cash in consideration for information regarding a horse’s performance in a jump out or trial run.
As with the Danny Brock case, common to all of the above are efforts by third parties to approach and tempt jockeys to supply privileged inside information about the likely performance of a horse in a race such that (a) the third party supplies some sort of indirect or direct benefit to the jockey; (b) the third party seeks to use that inside information for financial gain, principally by way of the associated wagering markets; and (c) that as a result of (a) and (b), the reputation and integrity of the industry as a whole is seriously undermined.
Both Brock and Berry are another reminder that when it comes to betting-related corruption in racing and other sports, there are three elemental principles. First, those who seek to fix events or seek privileged information about a race, so that they can manipulate it for betting purposes, must first manipulate those who can supply such information and subsequently effect the fix on the track. Second, in racing, as in most sports, participants such as jockeys who supply such information do the image of their sport (and their own reputation) a significant disservice. Equally, participants who are educated and deterred from supplying such information and who, instead, report such approaches at the first available opportunity, are the principal means of defending a sport’s integrity, and protecting the future of the industry.
An important final point to note is that this activity only came to light because it took place on Licensed and Regulated betting markets which share information with racing operators and/or to which racing operators have access to data. The key threat to the integrity of racing and other sports is from illegal betting operators, which are by their nature opaque and typically do not share data or suspicious betting information to protect the integrity of the sports on which they take bets.
 In the matter of Danny Brock and others - Rules (A)41.1, (B)58, (B)59.2, (D)45,(A)36.2,Independent Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (14December 2022) https://judicialpanel.britishhorseracing.com/results/result/?id=2328and on penalty see In the matter of Danny Brock and others - Rules (A)41.1,(B)58, (B)59.2, (D)45, (A)36.2, Independent Disciplinary Panel of theBritish Horseracing Authority (19 January 2023) https://judicialpanel.britishhorseracing.com/results/result/?id=2332
 In the matter of the Appeal of Tommy Berry & Zaid Miller vs Racing NSW Stewards(Hearing of Charges, 17 January 2023) https://www.racingnsw.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Stewards-Report-Berry-Miller-2.pdfand on appeal In the matter of the Appeal of Tommy Berry & Zaid Millervs Racing NSW Stewards (Appeal Panel of Racing New South Wales, 28 March2023) https://www.racingnsw.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Berry-Miller-AP-Reasons.pdf
 Racing NSW News Charges & Findings Against Licensed Jockey Tommy Berry 6 December2022 (https://www.racingnsw.com.au/news/nsw-trb-inquries-and-appeals/charges-findings-against-licensed-jockey-tommy-berry/)
 The rules were AR 115(1)(b), AR 218(4) (b) and (c), and AR 228(a) respectively.Full rules can be found at https://www.racingnsw.com.au/wp-content/uploads/NSWRules.pdf
 In the Matter of theAppeal of Tommy Berry & Zaid Miller vs Racing NSW Stewards (Appeal Panel of Racing New SouthWales, 28 March 2023) https://www.racingnsw.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Berry-Miller-AP-Reasons.pdf
 Waterhouse v RacingAppeals Tribunal  NSWSC 1143 at  https://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/nsw/NSWSC/2002/1143.html
Rules AR 227(b), AR 228(c) and AR 228(b) respectively
 AppealPanel of Racing New South Wales, Appeal of Licensed Jockey Mr. Jack Martin 28March 2023 (https://www.racingnsw.com.au/wp-content/uploads/AP-Reasons-for-Decision-Jack-Martin-No.2-28-March-2023.pdf)
 Thevarious charges are summarised here: https://www.racingnsw.com.au/news/latest-racing-news/charges-issued-by-stewards-jockeys-jordan-mallyon-jack-martin-and-kayla-nisbet-registered-ownerprofessional-punter-jacob-hoffmann/Jack Martin appealed and was partially successful but on penalty only - In theMatter of the Appeal of Jack Martin vs Racing NSW Stewards (Appeal Panel ofRacing New South Wales, 28 March 2023) https://www.racingnsw.com.au/wp-content/uploads/AP-Reasons-for-Decision-Jack-Martin-No.2-28-March-2023.pdf