Racing NSW has laid charges against Hyeronimus and his cousin, licensed stablehand Blake Paine, who is accused of placing dozens of bets over a two-and-a-half year period in which the jockey is alleged to have had an interest.
Stewards allege Hyeronimus was party to a $500 bet on Tim Martin’s Limbo Soul, which he rode to victory on debut at Rosehill in February 2017. The horse was sensationally offered as much as $26 in pre-post markets before jumping at $3.20.
Stewards also claim Hyeronimus had an interest in a $500 bet Paine placed on Lucky Meteor, which ran third under Hyeronimus in a Canterbury race in November 2016.
There are another 29 bets on thoroughbred races, some of which are believed to be in four-figure amounts, which stewards have charged the pair for allegedly having made between June 2016 and January 2019. None of those are understood to be in races in which Hyeronimus was riding. Both Hyeronimus and Paine have also been charged with giving false evidence before stewards last month.
It is the second major betting inquiry to involve a high-profile jockey this year with Victoria-based Ben Melham also accused of facilitating a number of wagers.
He was hit with seven charges in April and has been allowed to continue riding until the Victorian Racing Tribunal can hear the case, which also involves Melham’s partner Karlie Dales. Melham, Dales, Hyeronimus and Paine are set to plead not guilty to the charges.
James McDonald was the last NSW jockey to face a public inquiry on betting charges. The Sydney premiership leader lost his $1 million-a-year retainer at Godolphin for having an interest in a $1000 bet on Astern. He rode the colt to a debut win and was disqualified for 18 months before making a remarkable return to the saddle.
Hyeronimus is one of the most popular jockeys in Sydney and faces a minimum two years on the sidelines unless he can beat the charges or prove that a special circumstance exists, in which he may receive a discount.
He has built his career on the backing of Gai Waterhouse’s powerful Tulloch Lodge stable, which also previously employed Paine as a stablehand. Hyeronimus has enjoyed his best season in the saddle, notching his first group 1 win on Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s Shout The Bar in the Vinery Stud Stakes.
Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.