Northern Territory greyhound trainer Steele Bolton has made history as the first Australian greyhound trainer ever to be guilty of betting against his own dogs to win a race.
While we’re not suggesting it has never happened before, not one single trainer has ever been prosecuted for backing other dogs in a race to beat their own greyhound. Given Betfair has been in Australia for well over a decade, it is quite remarkable no other greyhound trainer has ever been prosecuted under the rule.
Many greyhound trainers throughout Australia might be surprised to know that Greyhounds Australasia Rule R87 reads:
Greyhounds Australasia Rule R87
Betting To Lose
- (1) For the purposes of this Rule “lay” means the offering or placing of a bet on a greyhound:
- (a) to lose an Event; or
- (b) to be beaten by any other runner or runners in an Event other than a bet of a type which will generate a dividend if the greyhound places first in the Event and the other elements of that bet type required to be successful are satisfied; or
- (c) to be beaten by any margin or range of margins in an Event; or
- (d) that a greyhound will not be placed in any one of the first four finishing positions in an Event in accordance with the provisions of Rule 61.
- (2) Any person directly involved, or employed in the nomination, training or care of a greyhound or a person who has provided a service connected to a greyhound, within the preceding 21 days of the greyhound starting in an Event, shall not lay the greyhound in the Event.
- (3) In circumstances where it is an offence for a person to lay a greyhound pursuant to this Rule it shall also be an offence for that person to-
- (a) have a greyhound laid on his behalf; or
- (b) receive any money or other valuable consideration in any way connected with the laying of a greyhound by another person.
- (4) It shall be an offence for any person to offer an inducement to a participant in greyhound racing with the intention of profiting from a greyhound not participating in an Event to the best of its ability.
The charges stem from a greyhound race meeting held at the Darwin Greyhound Association, Winnellie Park, on 13 May 2020. In the race in question trainer Steele Bolton started odds on favourite Bolo (7), second favourite Cawbourne Sasha (8), and outsider Nak Factor (6) who won the race at odds of over 20/1. Bolo drifted in pre race betting from $1.35 out to as much as $2.60, while Nak Factor was backed in from $34.00 to $17.00.
Following the event NT greyhound stewards enquired into the betting history of greyhound trainer Mr Steele Bolton. NT Stewards noted that a potential breach of the Greyhound Australasia Rules had occurred, as Mr Bolton had bet against his runner by virtue of his wager for the field to beat the favourite.
NT Stewards noted that no other greyhound jurisdiction had laid a charge of this nature before, and the matter was referred to the NT Racing Commission (NTRC) as the Controlling Body, who determined to hold an inquiry into the matter.
That inquiry was held on Tuesday 11th August 2020, where Mr Bolton pled guilty to betting against his own greyhound and was fined $3,925.00.
In assessing the penalty, the NTRC took into consideration Mr Bolton’s personal circumstances, his time in the industry, his admission of guilt, his remorse for his actions, that the integrity of the race was not in question; and the need for the penalty to serve as a deterrent to other industry participants.
Mr Bolton has rights of appeal.