While we often chose to avoid publishing rumours and innuendo arising in the racing industry there’s no doubt there’s a lot of it around and plenty of other websites feed off the controversy.
More often than not the story dies away after it’s discovered it had no basis (the Peter Moody ‘scandal’ for example) but sometimes it can grow its own legs.
That has been the case this week after several major publications splashed around allegations regarding a so far unnamed jockey.
It was alleged the rider had been keeping company with a well known punter and implications made about his credibility and involvement.
Such was the strength of the rumours that the rider has now taken the step of personally contacting Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy and requesting a personal meeting.
The jockey has taken the initiative to clear his name (although it’s yet to be printed in the media) by throwing open his phone and bank records.
Murrihy said he already talked to the rider previously but the second meeting was completely his initiative.
“I had cause to speak to this jockey previously at Canterbury last Saturday week about this very matter but following another newspaper article about the issue, he approached stewards for a meeting,” Murrihy said.
“These rumours have been circling for some weeks in Sydney racing and this jockey wanted to set the record straight.
“I told him this industry is fairly small as we are dealing with the same group of people and rumours do get legs.”
On his part the rider has stressed he’s done absolutely nothing wrong and said he’s willing to do anything to show that’s the case.
“He maintains he has had no association with the punter in question and was willing to lay out all his records as proof of evidence,” he said.
“He has given stewards permission to peruse his telephone records and financial statements.
“I have to say he came across as a person who wants to do what is necessary to put this matter to bed.”
Murrihy said there’s no need for the jockey to be named as there is no official case against him nor is there any evidence.
Jockeys are free to associate with anybody they like, including punters, however it’s obvious these type of relationships will draw suspicion.
“It is not unusual, particularly with young jockeys, for stewards to tug their coats if there are any suggestions of association with punters,” Murrihy said.
“If you are seen with certain people, then some may draw the wrong conclusions. And as long as there has been racing, punters have tried to attach themselves to jockeys.
“As I said to this rider today, if you didn’t have the ability to ride a winner, they would not want to be talking to you.”