O'Hara hit with phone use fine

Jockey Kathy O’Hara has been fined $2500 for using her mobile phone at race meetings and told to find another way to occupy her downtime when she is working.

Her mobile phone use came to light during an inquiry into the betting activities of her partner and fellow jockey Blake Shinn which resulted in him incurring a 15-month disqualification.

Jockeys are required to hand their phones in when they arrive at the races but O’Hara admitted she had often used hers when she was on her own in the female riders’ room.

Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy told O’Hara on Monday his panel was satisfied she was not a party to Shinn’s betting but warned she would be suspended if she offended again, having been fined twice in the past.

“This is one last fine and you will be looking at a suspension in future,” Murrihy said.

“It is a flagrant disregard of the rules over a period of time.

“Perhaps you should bring a book or a crossword to occupy your time.

O’Hara admitted she had at times been bored particularly if she was the only woman riding at a meeting.

“I guess I will be getting a hobby,” she said.

Shinn was fined $500 for making calls to O’Hara knowing she was at the races.

“You had to know she was breaking the rules,” Murrihy said.

“It is a course of conduct established of exchanging texts and calls.

“You must have known she had the phone in the (jockeys) room.”

The fine was inconsequential to Shinn.

“I’ve got bigger things to worry about,” he said.

Shinn has lodged an appeal against his disqualification and engaged Cliff Pannam to represent him.

Fellow jockey Peter Robl, who was outed for 12 months for betting offences and giving false evidence at the initial inquiry in September, will have the services of Alan Sullivan, QC, at his appeal.

Jockeys are not allowed to bet under the rules of racing but Shinn and Robl were caught after an investigation into the activity on Robl’s wife Elaine’s Tabcorp account to which they both had access.

Shinn also had a history of betting via his mother Carol Shinn’s account.

Elaine Robl and Carol Shinn were each fined $7,500 which they will appeal.