Matthew Benns takes us inside the murky world of Australia's racing industry.
Dapper horse trainer Les Samba was in Melbourne for the annual yearling sales when he turned down an Italian meal with racing contacts saying: "I have got to meet a bloke." Just hours later he was laying dead, in the middle of the road with blood pouring from five bullet wounds to his head and body.
Racing in Australia has a dark and dangerous underbelly. Powerful people play for high stakes in an industry worth $14 billion a year. And they don't play nicely.
Yearling sales are rigged, horses doped, races fixed and taxes dodged by high rolling punters. Every day huge sums of money are made by bookies who don't want to put any of it back into the industry. Meanwhile jockeys starve and sweat themselves to the point of delirium - many dying or suffering permanent injury while racing for as little as $130 a race. Young female jockeys are raped, often by the trainers they work for.
This is the true story every racing fan needs to read. It goes past the glorious image of the Melbourne Cup winner holding his hand aloft to reveal what really goes on in the dark and murky corridors of Australian racing. It tells you about the bent jockeys, cheating trainers, crooked owners and greedy bookies. Everyone wants an angle in racing, this book tells you just how often that means the race is Fixed.