AUSTRALIAN jockey Kayla Nisbet has found herself at the centre of an investigation into alleged links between riders and a professional punter known as ‘The Bear’.
The Sydney Morning Herald report that Nisbet is one of four jockeys being looked at in a probe by Racing NSW bosses.
Their report claims top jockey Tommy Berry has been forced to hand over his phone and his mum’s bank accounts have been examined by investigators.
It is claimed the probe is looking into whether jockeys have allegedly ‘benefitted from punters who have profited from their rides’.
Australian rules forbid any jockeys from accepting a gift or cash from any person other than a horse’s owner, commonly referred to as ‘a sling’.
The Sydney Morning Herald cite sources familiar with the probe as saying bosses are looking for alleged links between the jockeys and ‘The Bear – a pro punter and horse owner, real name Jacob Hoffman.
There is no suggestion any of the jockeys apparently named in the probe have engaged in any wrongdoing or broken any Australian racing rules.
Nisbet, 28, is one of four riders allegedly part of the probe.
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The Sydney Morning Herald report she had her phone seized by investigators last month.
One of six sisters, Nisbet has won more than £6.4million in her career in the saddle, banging in 531 career wins.
She gets teased by her siblings for being the son their dad never had, after being the only one to follow him into a career in riding.
Since a young age she knew what she wanted to do and told punters.com.au: “I wanted to be a jockey for as long as I can remember.
“Mum says I started mentioning it when I was four.
“I obviously didn’t think about it all the time but when I was ten I started being pretty adamant that’s what I wanted to do.
“None of my sisters have any interest in riding.
“The girls call me the son dad never had. I probably am the favourite!
“Even now we work together every day. So maybe some days I’m not his favourite.”
News of Nisbet’s alleged involvement in the investigation comes during a blockbuster week of racing Down Under.
The world’s richest turf race, The Everest, worth £3.5million to the winner, takes place on Saturday.
Top trainer Wayne Hawkes and prominent owner John O’Neill have spoken of their frustration at the timing of the story into the probe.
O’Neill told sen.com.au: “Geez, I wish everyone would get on the one page here, whether you’re stewards, whether you’re jockeys, whether you’re owners, whether you’re punters, whether you’re trainers.
“At the end of the day we’re here to promote an industry that we all love, it provides unbelievable employment, it gives people a lot of joy and a lot of success, and there’s rules and regulations around that.”
While Hawkes added: “Why are we airing this now?
“Shut up, do your investigation behind closed doors and then come out with what the end result is.”
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