Leading Australian harness trainer BANNED from racing venues after report found him guilty of fixing multiple races
- Was exposed as part of major investigation into the racing industry
- Horses withdraw from events this week, leaving one race with just one runner
- Still allowed to practice but not allowed to enter race venues
Leading Australian racing trainer Ben Yole has been banned from the sport after a damning report found him guilty of fixing several races.
Tasmania’s leading racing figure Yole has been banned from the state’s racecourses, just two days after the release of an extensive independent report into race-fixing.
Tasracing acted swiftly by issuing notices to Yole and others implicated in the Murrihy report, which contained negative findings against several individuals in the racing industry.
The wide-ranging investigation, led by former manager Ray Murrihy, delved into allegations of race-fixing, team management and animal abuse initially brought to light by the ABC in March 2023.
Despite the government publicly releasing the report more than two months after receiving it, and despite the report’s express findings against Yole – specifically his involvement in fixing at least two races in 2022 – the Office for Racing Integrity failed to suspend him.
Yole retains the ability to continue training and entering horses in races.
Currently, Yole has 36 runners scheduled for the upcoming event at Mowbray in Launceston, with an additional 49 expected to run at Elwick in Hobart on Sunday.
Some Yole-affiliated runners entered for a New South Wales event have been scratched. In one race, the number of Yole scratches meant that there was only one runner left in the race.
Leading Tasmanian harness racing trainer Ben Yole has been banned from racecourses
Yole was found to have fixed the outcome of two races and a number of his horses have now been removed from racing events in Australia
Despite the findings, Yole has maintained an active training program and supervised around 700 runners in races since November when the report was initially presented to the government.
Following the release of the report, the government announced the formation of an independent panel of stewards to further investigate and possibly sanction Yole for suspect breeds and cases of animal cruelty reported by Mr. Murrihy has been identified.
Tasracing has revealed its exploration of legal options, separate from the Office of Racing Integrity, in response to the allegations against Yole Racing and others implicated in the report.
“TasRacing is satisfied that it has the grounds to make this decision under the Racing Regulation Act 2004, based on serious allegations and subsequent findings made by Mr Murrihy,” Tasracing chief executive Andrew Jenkins said.
‘The named participants have a show period to provide evidence as to why the notice should be revoked.’
According to the Australian Rules of Harness Racing, an individual who has been ‘warned off’ is barred from ‘participating in any way in the harness racing industry’.
The Murrihy investigation, which included more than 50 interviews, more than 45 depositions, race footage reviews, examination of race betting data, individual punter records and site visits, contributed to the comprehensive findings against Yole and others involved.
“The investigation investigated allegations of team-driving and race-fixing in the two races mentioned in the ABC media report of 26 March 2023, as well as two additional races selected from more than 50 races from the past three years referred to in submissions, ” the report read.
“Of these four breeds, two were determined to involve behavior that did not comply with the AHRR, while the remaining two breeds did not have sufficient evidence to support a non-compliant determination.”
Racing Minister Felix Ellis said it was: “A dark day for Tasmania’s harness racing.”