Shelbourne harness racing trainer pleads guilty to role in fixing three country Victorian races

Larry Eastman, pictured with his horse Menin Gate and stable partner Millie, used "stomach tubing" or "drenching" on two horses within 48 hours of races, which he then bet on. Picture: DARREN HOWE
Larry Eastman, pictured with his horse Menin Gate and stable partner Millie, used "stomach tubing" or "drenching" on two horses within 48 hours of races, which he then bet on. Picture: DARREN HOWE

A SHELBOURNE harness racing trainer has pleaded guilty to his role in fixing three races in country Victoria in 2014.

Larry Eastman, 60, pleaded guilty in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Thursday to five charges including use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes, and engaging in conduct to corrupt a betting outcome.

The court heard Eastman had nasogastric intubation – known as “stomach tubing” or “drenching” – administered to two horses within 48 hours of race meets, and knew of a third horse that was illegally receiving the technique.

The technique is illegal within 48 hours of races as it can enhance performance through improved rehydration. It involves placing a tube down the throat of the horse and adding a mixture of alkalising agents, sodiums and bicarbonate.

Eastman then encouraged others to bet on the races on his behalf, knowing that the horses had this advantage.

Horse Cashiking was administered stomach tubing before race 7 at Nyah at Swan Hill on December 2, 2014.

Eastman administered stomach tubing to another horse, Waterslide, for race 5 at Charlton on December 8, 2014.

Eastman then had the driver inject the horse with potassium a short time after the race to conceal the effects of stomach tubing from Harness Racing Victoria authorities.

Eastman personally gained $400 from betting $200 on the three-to-one result.

Eastman also knew that horse Dynamite Dick had been administered stomach tubing before race 5 at Horsham on December 15, 2014.

He had two other men bet on his behalf.

Eastman came to the attention of police during their investigation into Shayne and Greg Cramp, of Mildura, who were later sentenced in relation to race fixing offences.

Police intercepted a phone call between Eastman and one of the men, and suspected Eastman was also involved in “corrupt conduct”.

The practice of stomach tubing, or drenching, has been the subject of “strict controls” for racing worldwide.

Defence counsel Robert Timms said Eastman’s offending was small compared to others in the harness racing industry.

“My client, as part of the plea, was a small fish in a much bigger pond,” he said.

“The co-accused in Mildura were involved in far more.”

Mr Timms said he would be asking the court to sentence Eastman to a community corrections order, or a fine.

Eastman will be sentenced in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on February 2.