By Jon Lees
Australia: Multiple G1-winning jockey Ben Melham has been disqualified for five months after admitting betting offences.
The 32-year-old rider’s conduct was described as “reprehensible” by Victorian Racing Tribunal chairman Judge John Bowman as he announced an immediate ban until May 2021 after Melham pleaded guilty to four charges, three relating to betting and one for giving false evidence.
Melham is one of the leading riders in Melbourne where he is fifth in the Metropolitan standings. He had been facing a mandatory two-year ban but the most serious of the charges, for betting in races he was riding in, were withdrawn by Racing Victoria stewards at the start of the three-day hearing.
Melham was found to have placed A$3,000 (£1,600) into the account of his partner Karlie Dales and placed bets totalling A$36,000 (£20,300) in March and May 2019. In one four-hour session at a hotel he placed 20 bets on horse racing. He was sidelined with an injury at the time.
Melham is one of only three jockeys to ride the champion sprinter Black Caviar in her career, partnering the mare to both his and her first G1 victory in the Patinack Farm Classic in 2010.
He has ridden over 1,200 winners and his 17 G1 winners include the 2017 Golden Slipper on She Will Reign. His most recent top-level success came on Streets Of Avalon in the Futurity Stakes in February this year.
• Visit the Racing Victoria website