The high rolling Sydney punter at the centre of the El-Issa / Bold Glance betting saga could stand to lose millions if he’s found guilty of having any involvement in the scandal.
Steve Fletcher was the partner of Eddie Hayson when the Greyhound Odds Manipulation Scheme of 2005 unravelled.
It’s reported Fletcher bets in excess of $1 million a week across a range a bookmakers of both sports and racing events.
He’s been charged by Racing Queensland stewards after they allege he was involved in the Eagle Farm race in which Bobby El-Issa was suspended for not giving Bold Glance every chance of winning on February 26.
El-Issa is currently appealing the two year ban he received as a result of the incident where he was found guilty of not riding the horse with his usual vigour and allowing it to be caught by the winner Essington in the final 100m.
If Fletcher is found to have had any involvement he’ll be banned from racecourses Australia wide and will also lose his business.
While his company doesn’t bet on course, persons found guilty under rule AR135 are barred from placing any form of bet with any bookmaker or betting operator either in person or via phone and internet.
“The rule [AR.182A] effectively means that anyone who is warned off is not allowed to bet while disqualified with any TAB account, on-course bookmaker or corporate bookmaker,” a well-placed racing industry source said.
“He [Fletcher] has runners and agents placing bets for him at tracks all over the country and that would have to stop, legally, if he is found guilty.”
Fletcher refused to confirm his guilt or profess his innocence when in Brisbane.
“We will wait and see what happens,” he said.
“I have handed over all my records to Queensland racing officials and it is in their hands now.”
Stewards allegations indicate that Fletcher had investments on Essington to win the race as well as a large lay bet on Bold Glance to lose.
He would have lost more than $25,000 had Bold Glance won the race but the Essington win gave him a touch over $2,0000.
It later came out that Fletcher’s 10 most valuable lay bets in Queensland were all on El-Issa’s horses on a day where the jockey lost every event.
The total risk of the investments was $302,857 and the profit made was $39,780.
“I don’t think $25,000 is a considerable risk. I lay horses to lose $40,000 and $50,000 all the time,” Fletcher said during the initial Racing Queensland inquiry.
“I turn over $500,000 on a Saturday and in every race [I bet in] there would be a $50,000 or $60,000 swing.”
Racing Queensland is expected to sight phone records which show El-Issa and Fletcher in regular contact from December to January, mainly via text messages initiated by El-Issa.
Some retribution was gained for the trainer of Bold Glance Norm Hilton when the Queenslander finished third in the $2 million Doncaster Mile at Randwick last weekend.
Fletcher first shot to recognition in 2005 when he and fellow businessman Eddie Hayson placed a series of bets on a Queensland greyhound race which fluctuated the TOTE market in their favour to collect $1 million.