Professional punter Stephen Fletcher has been disqualified over his involvement in a Brisbane racing scandal.
Fletcher, one of Australia’s best-known punters, has been banned for 12 months.
Racing Queensland stewards handed out the penalty on Friday after jockey Bobby El-Issa was earlier disqualified for two years because of his ride on Bold Glance in an Eagle Farm race on February 26.
El-Issa was found guilty of not giving Bold Glance every chance to win the Falvelon Quality (1200m).
The subsequent Doncaster Mile placegetter finished second in the race and El-Issa, who stewards said did not show his usual vigour on the horse, is appealing his ban.
Fletcher, who rose to prominence as a high-profile punter when he was linked with a 2005 betting sting on a Gold Coast greyhound race, faces the prospect of shutting his gambling operation under the terms of the ban.
“People who wager on racing are subject to the rules of racing,” Racing Queensland chief steward Wade Birch said.
Under an Australian racing rule, bookmakers are not allowed to accept a bet from a disqualified person.
The ban also includes wagering with national TABs.
“In the case of TABs, stewards advise the TABs and they close their account.”
Fletcher is also banned from attending racetracks.
A Racing Queensland report outlining Fletcher’s penalty said: “Mr Fletcher’s conduct has the capacity to deter those already involved in the sport from continuing their association, and may discourage individuals from becoming involved in, or wagering on the sport.
“Stewards have regard for the fact that Mr Fletcher was not the principal offender; however (we) have considered that Mr Fletcher was a significant financial beneficiary of the conduct of jockey El-Issa.”
During the hearing into El-Issa’s ride, stewards alleged Fletcher had opposed Bold Glance on the betting exchange Betfair as well as supporting the eventual winner Essington.
A stewards’ investigation revealed Fletcher and El-Issa were in regular telephone contact.
The inquiry found Fletcher’s top 10 lay bets were ridden ridden by El-Issa.
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