Trotting cup day dodges a major bullet

The New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington was fantastic as usual, with thousands enjoying the day whether you be a punter or not.

But harness racing officials would have been shaking in their boots two weeks ago over a major ongoing court case, which when the details are publicly revealed, will cause the clouds to be darker than they were on Tuesday.

It involves the lengthy police investigation and court proceedings into a number of people in the industry who are facing drugs and corruption-related charges.

The investigation is called Operation Inca and is being played out behind closed court doors because of suppression orders, which prohibit publication of details until a judge allows it.

One individual was scheduled to appear again in court two weeks prior to cup day.

When that person appeared at their previous hearing, the court was told interim name suppression would be lifted at the following appearance, and details of the charges and outcome of some of those charges would be able to be made public.

But surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, when the case was to be heard two weeks out from cup day, the judge adjourned it again, this time to March of next year. Why? We can’t tell you – yet.

Suppression orders remain in place until then.

But had that case gone ahead as scheduled two weeks ago, and details made public, it would have been a big embarrassment leading into the cup meeting.

The industry has dodged a major bullet.

- barry@starmedia.kiwi

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