Tasmania’s top jockey Craig Newitt believes he has “nothing to worry about” when he fronts a Victorian stewards’ inquiry into alleged betting activity.
Newitt has confirmed that he has twice been interviewed by Victorian stewards but has not been advised of a date for any official inquiry.
Interstate racing web sites have been speculating that an inquiry would begin next week.
“That’s news to me,” Newitt said. “I’m expecting an inquiry to be held sometime in the next few weeks but I haven’t been given a date.”
Newitt was first interviewed by Victorian stewards at a Spreyton race meeting in August.
At the time, Victoria’s racing integrity department would provide no details other than to confirm an investigation was underway. Interstate media indirectly identified Newitt as one of several jockeys that had been interviewed.
Newitt said that his last conversation with Victorian stewards went for only two minutes.
“They have not returned to Tasmania since I spoke to them at Spreyton last year,” he said. “I’ve been to Melbourne once since and I was in the (stewards’) room for two minutes and that was it.”
Newitt, 33, has repeatedly said he is unable to comment on the specifics of the allegations.
However it’s common knowledge within Tasmanian racing circles that a person who was close to Newitt approached stewards with allegations of phone betting.
The popular web site racenet.com.au has reported that the stewards’ inquiries have “taken them across three states in the past few months.”
Racenet has also reported that the investigations do not focus solely on Newitt who was based in Victoria for most of his career.
Since returning home in 2017, Tasmania’s most successful group 1 jockey in history – with 35 wins around the world at the highest level – has been in outstanding form.
He easily won last season’s jockeys’ premiership and has been in good touch again this season with recent wins in the Devonport and Hobart cups.
News that stewards are investigating alleged betting activity by jockeys comes at a bad time for racing, following the scandals involving Victorian trainers Robert Smerdon and Darren Weir who were both regular visitors to Tasmania and won numerous feature races in the state.