Victorian jockey loses retainer in further fallout from race fixing inquiry
08 Aug 2012 | Melbourne jockey Mark Zahra has been stood down from future rides for the Darley racing stable while police investigate race fixing allegations.
The split comes after Zahra was named in a media exposure on the ABC Four Corners programme on Monday of a probe by Victorian police into claims a race run at Cranbourne in April last year was fixed.
Zahra, who has just returned from a riding stint in Hong Kong, confirmed Darley had told him he would not be required as its Victorian stable jockey, at least until the case is resolved.
Asked if a report of the split was correct, he replied, "Yes."
Zahra said he had been advised not to talk about the matter.
"There's not much I can say on legal advice, but I'm pretty disappointed," Zahra said.
"They told me I'm not needed at least until this thing's over. The really disappointing thing is that I haven't been charged with anything.
"I'm implicated in something, I guess, but I haven't been charged."
Darley Australia's managing director Henry Plumptre said Zahra would not ride a Darley runner until the police probe was completed.
'This industry stands or falls through the integrity of our sport, and if there is an issue all I can say is that we'd be extremely disappointed," Plumptre said.
Fairfax newspapers and the ABC's Four Corners program reported that Zahra had come to the attention of police over his ride in the Cranbourne race won by Smoking Aces, ridden by Danny Nikolic.
Racing Victoria stewards questioned Nikolic on the day of the Cranbourne race after their attention was drawn to his behaviour during the event.
They accepted his explanation and did not proceed with further inquiries. The stewards have not questioned Zahra.
Victoria Police have declined to confirm if either Zahra or Nikolic is under investigation.
Allegations of race fixing emerged during their unsolved investigation of the murder of Sydney racing identity Les Samba, who was shot dead in Melbourne in February last year.
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