Australian Gambling – In a story that has shocked the typically clean natured New Zealand racing scene, jockey David Walker has had his riding licence suspended after an investigation was launched into one of his rides at Awapuni earlier this year.

The Central Districts jockey will face charges of pulling up a horse so he could collect from a head-to-head bet he ‘allegedly’ placed on a rival horse. The senior rider was aboard Watch Your Man who sat near the rear of the field but video shows he never gave his mount a chance and when he found clear running room, he simply sat on the horse and didn’t move a muscle.

When stewards questioned Walker about the ride he claimed that he was denied any clear running room but that he also had cramp in his hands – something he told stewards before the inquiry was launched. Further investigations by the Racing Integrity Unit concluded that Walker did place a bet, to which he has now admitted to, but in New Zealand it is legal to place a bet on a horse you are riding, however, placing a bet against a rival is not permitted and Walker faces serious charges.

Reports state that the bet was in excess of $500 which seems rather pointless, but he isn’t the first jockey to illegally wager on a race. Remarkably, Walker was seen via CCTV footage to be collecting his winnings after the race. The rival horse, St Ransom, closed at $1.80 in the head-to-head market but the price was higher before the large bet was placed – leaving Walker to likely double his money.

Walker’s excuse of cramping in the hands is certainly one of the strangest we have come across, as cramping in the hands is a very rare trait for jockeys – he also showed no signs of loosening his grip throughout the race. The Racing Integrity Unit is now investigating other rides by Walker but he has been charged with this offence and he can’t ride till his court hearing is finished.

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