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Group 1-winning Australian jockey to plead not guilty to betting charges

Ben Melham: to plead not guilty to seven betting charges
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Australian jockey Ben Melham and his partner Karlie Dales are set to plead not guilty to a number of betting charges following a directions hearing in Melbourne on Tuesday morning.

Melham and Dales were last month issued with a total of seven charges for alleged illegal betting offences from March through to September last year.

No date has been set for the hearing before the Victorian Racing Tribunal, but the matter is most likely to be set down to be heard at the County Court in Melbourne.

A date for that hearing will be set at a second directions hearing on July 14.

It was established on Tuesday that the hearing of the charges is likely to last up to three days, with approximately eight witnesses required. The defendants will submit an outline of evidence by June 30.

Melham is one of three jockeys to have ridden sprinting ace Black Caviar, and he is a multiple Group 1 winner in Australia. He guided the star mare to win the first of her 15 top-level successes, the Patinack Farm Classic, at Flemington in 2010.

In 2017, he came within half a length of Melbourne Cup glory on Johannes Vermeer.


Melham's seven charges

The charges issued to Melham and Dales are detailed below:

Charge 1: On March 27 2019, through his partner Karlie Dales' betting account, Melham placed a $500 win bet on Venezuela, racing in race seven at Sandown that day. Venezuela ran unplaced and Melham was not riding at the time.

Charge 2: On March 30 2019, Melham facilitated and/or had an interest in the making of, 20 bets totaling $14,600 on thoroughbred horse races between approximately 1.18pm and 5.36pm, as a result of him initially placing $3,000 cash into Dales' betting account at a hotel at approximately 11.42am that day. Melham was not riding at the time.

Charge 3: On May 19 2019, through Dales' betting account, Melham placed a two-legged multi bet to the value of $2,500, one leg included Amazingly, which ran in race eight at the Sunshine Coast that day. The other leg of the bet was not a thoroughbred horse race and Melham did not ride at the Sunshine Coast that day.

Charge 4: On July 23 2019, through Dales' betting account, Melham placed bets to the value of $1,850 on horses Heirborn, Al Dorama and/or Shot Of Irish, all of which were running the next day at Sandown in Races 2, 6 and 8 respectively, and to be ridden by Melham.

The next day, Melham rode Al Dorama and Shot Of Irish at Sandown, Heirborn was scratched that morning.

Charge 5: On August 18 2019, Melham made, facilitated and/or had an interest in the making of, five bets totaling $2,114 on horse racing in Singapore, when he attended a hotel and supplied cash to someone who placed those bets. Melham did not ride in Singapore at the time.

Charge 6: On or prior to September 1 2019, through an associate, Melham facilitated bets for Dales on Orleans Rock, which ran in race nine at Geelong that day. Orleans Rock won the race and was ridden by Melham.

Charge 7: Contrary to AR 232(i), evidence given by Melham at a September 3 2019 interview about placing cash into Dales' betting account was false and/or misleading.


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Melham and Dales were last month issued with a total of seven charges for alleged illegal betting offences from March through to September last year

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