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Top jockey Melham faces multiple gambling charges

The charges against Melham stipulate that he placed bets through his partner, Karlie Dales’ betting account and that on one occasion he placed $3000 into her account at a hotel on a day when he was sidelined through injury. Some of the bets were in Singapore.

He is also charged – along with Ms Dale – of giving false or misleading evidence at an inquiry.

Ben Melham.

Ben Melham.Credit:Racing Photos

Melham, 32, is widely regarded as one of the most talented riders in the state and as recently as Saturday was in the headlines for winning the feature race, the VRC St Leger, in a driving finish aboard the Gai Waterhouse-trained Sacramento.

He has won 17 group one contests – including the Golden Slipper aboard She Will Reign in 2017 – and partnered 1170 winners in a career that began when he was apprenticed to Darren Weir, the now disgraced former champion trainer, who was disqualified for four years in 2019. His first group one success was aboard Black Caviar, which he rode when regular pilot Luke Nolen was unavailable.

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Currently Melham, who is rarely without a ride in the feature contests throughout the spring and autumn carnivals, sits in equal fourth place on the Melbourne metropolitan jockeys premiership with 37 winners from 258 rides so far this season, his mounts having earned prizemoney of $4,779,735.00.

In a statement issued late on Monday afternoon the stewards outlined the seven charges: six relating to betting activity against Melham and the one, during an interview in September of 2019, when he is alleged to have given false or misleading evidence.

The first charge alleges that he had a $500 win bet on a horse called Venezuela, which ran unplaced, at Sandown in March. He was injured at the time.

The second charge alleges that on March 30 he had 20 bets totalling $14,600 after placing $3000 into Ms Dales’ account.

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The third alleges that he wagered $2500 on a two leg multi, the fourth that he bet $1850 on three horses running at Sandown on July 24, which he was due to ride. One, Heirborn, was scratched. The others, Al Dorma and Shot of Irish, were narrowly beaten in photo finishes.

The fifth charge relates to more than $2000 worth of bets on Singaporean racing where he went to a hotel in mid August 2019 and supplied the cash for someone who put the bets on.

The sixth alleged offence was on September 1 last year when, through an associate, he is alleged to have facilitated bets for Ms Dales on Orleans Rock in the final event at Geelong. He rode the horse and it won.

Charge seven is the one relating to giving false or misleading evidence in relation to placing money into Ms Dales’ betting account.

The charges will be heard by the Victorian Racing Tribunal on a date to be fixed.

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