Two high-profile racing identities have been outed for six months for keeping a commission from the sale of a horse to Hong Kong without the knowledge of syndicate members.
Media personality and managing part-owner of the horse, Richard Callander, was fined $10,000 on top of his ban as the “orchestrator” of the decision to withhold money from the other owners.
Liam Prior, racing manager for leading trainer Chris Waller, received a six-month ban for his part in concealing the true price of the sale.
Lil Caesar, was sold for $200,000 but the owners were told the amount was $140,000 with syndicate manager Callander and Prior splitting the money as commission.
Jockey Glyn Schofield, who facilitated the sale through his Hong Kong contacts, has been fined $20,000, the same amount he received as commission.
The case came to light after an investigation by Racing Victoria stewards into the sale of another horse to Hong Kong, the Brent Stanley-trained Equita, in which Schofield was also involved.
While acknowledging that Callander and Prior had pleaded guilty and repaid the money, Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy told the pair the charges of dishonest and/or fraudulent conduct were extremely serious.
“Both Mr Callander and Mr Prior were aware that the owners were under the impression Lil Caesar had been sold for $140,000, such impression arising as a result of the email from Mr Callander dated 27 October,” Murrihy said.
“They made no effort to inform the owners of the actual sale proceeds.”
Counsel for Callander, Wayne Pasterfield, argued he should receive a substantial discount for his guilty plea and co-operation with the inquiry.
Prior’s representative John Byrnes said one mistake should not cost his client his career.
“He is a young man who is in an important position in the leading stable in the country,” he said.
“He is heavily involved in the industry. It is his life and blood.”
An owner of the horse provided a statement saying that while he was disappointed with the way the transaction had been conducted, he has received his money and the matter was now settled.
Schofield’s counsel Warren Ball said the jockey’s only crime was that he was unaware of the rule forbidding riders to be involved in the sale of horses.
He said Schofield had paid dearly, losing the Group One rides on Japonisme, who runs in Saturday’s Newmarket Handicap, and Blue Diamond Stakes winner Extreme Choice, favourite for the $3.5 million Golden Slipper on Saturday week.
The three men have until Monday to lodge appeals against their penalties.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au