Four harness identities disqualified for a total 21 years
Four Queensland harness racing identities have been disqualified for a total of 21 years over an alleged rigged race at the Gold Coast in September.
Owner Lucas Sullivan was disqualified for 13 years, drivers Jay Bellamy and David Turner received bans of four years each while owner Lisa Hodge was outed for six months.
Sullivan owned three horses in the race including Harkham who led and won the Burwood Stud Claiming pace after being heavily backed.
Stewards claimed the race was fixed.
The plunge on Harkham was completed after the race’s official starting time was put back three minutes when a driver not involved in the inquiry held up the race to have a gear change.
Stewards conducted one of their most exhaustive inquiries in which they were assisted by at least four betting agencies and traced accounts used by Sullivan, his family and friends.
Part of Sullivan’s sentence was a 10-year ban for fraudulent conduct and he was also charged with giving false and misleading evidence and failing to answer questions.
It is believed to be the biggest race-related ban handled down by Queensland trot stewards in more than two decades.
Sullivan refused to answer questions on legal advice at Monday’s hearing at Albion Park.
Stewards claimed that advice was "flawed" and his failure to speak triggered one of the charges and contributed to his ban.