Betting plunge detailed

December 01, 2017

Betting agency employees from Bet365 and Ladbrokes gave evidence into the pre-race betting patterns of a Cobram harness race, in Shepparton Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Nathan Jack, Amanda Turnbull, Mark Pitt and Lisa Bartley have pleaded not guilty to charges of conduct that corrupts a betting outcome, after an investigation into a race on June 22, 2015 — which Airbournemagic won.

Prosecutor Gary Hevey prompted Bet365 trading team leader Steven Boukaran, who spoke via video-link, about betting fluctuations ahead of the race.

Mr Boukaran’s analyst team said Airbournemagic was said to have a ‘‘three per cent chance’’ of winning the race.

The night before the race, at 7.45pm on June 21, Airbournemagic came in from $35 to $15 after two bets came through, he told the court.

‘‘Two bets came in at 10.42pm and 10.45pm ... Lisa Bartley was the first bet,’’ Mr Boukaran said.

‘‘Two minutes later there was a second bet ... as a result of those two bets it brought the odds into $15.’’

Mr Boukaran said there was a third and fourth bet at 10.51pm and 10.52pm, which brought the odds into $10.

The court heard all bets were placed the night before the race.

Upon re-opening of the markets following scratchings, the odds drifted out to $12.

‘‘They stayed there for four minutes before going back into $8.50 ... over the next five minutes it moves into $3.60,’’ Mr Boukaran said.

When Mr Hevey questioned his witness in regards to the odds shortening from $35 into $3.60, Mr Boukaran described the shortening as ‘‘not something you see everyday, it’s unusual’’.

Ladbrokes’ trading director David Horne was the next witness called to give evidence, after his betting agency opened Airbournemagic’s odds at $10.

‘‘It shortened very quickly within the first couple of minutes,’’ he said.

‘‘We took a bet from a client (Klarissa Robertson) that didn’t have much previous history, only five bets on her account.

‘‘She attempted to place a $1000 bet ... $769 was accepted and $231 was rejected, for a potential winning of $5769.

One minute after Mrs Roberston placed the bet, a Brocq Robertson attempted to place another $1000 bet at $6, the court heard.

‘‘We then moved the price into $5 ... Klarissa then attempted to bet again ... all the bets were 12 minutes before the race started,’’ Mr Boukaran said.

Day four of the hearing also had harness racing steward Brett Day cross-examined by defence lawyers — after giving evidence on Wednesday.

Racing footage allegedly shows Mr Jack took to the track with horse Tooram Lad, and that he allegedly allowed Airbournemagic, which was close behind for much of the race, to win.

Prosecution argue the third section of the race was run at 27 seconds — fast for a race of that class — which shows Mr Jack ran Tooram Lad ragged, they argue.

‘‘Tooram Lad was wearing block blinkers ... which can have the affect of firing up the horse and if it does, it can overrace,’’ Mr Jack’s defense lawyer Anthony Lewis claimed.

‘‘Your evidence about the sectional time, can you confirm that there was other times horses ran from 27.6 seconds to 28 seconds?’’

‘‘Yes,’’ Mr Day admitted.

Mr Lewis also referred to other data that showed horses that ran similar times to Tooram Lad, which supported his argument.

The hearing continues.

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