Jockey Ben Melham to fight alleged betting charges at County Court in December

JOCKEY Ben Melham will contest six alleged betting charges next month at the County Court.

Melham faces a mandatory two-year ban if found guilty of placing the bets on select Australian races — totalling about $20,000 — from March to September last year.

The 32 year-old, who posted multiple winners during the spring carnival and was runner-up in the Cox Plate, will have the matter heard on December 21-23, pending the court’s availability.

A seventh charge, relating to five bets totalling $2114 on Singapore in August 2019, was scrapped last month because Australian rules of racing do no explicitly prevent a jockey punting overseas.

The three-day hearing follows nine months of deliberations, delayed largely due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Melham, who will plead not guilty, was first charged in March.

Judge John Bowman was determined on Wednesday to set the date despite the matter running into the busy Christmas/New Year period.

“I‘d like to get the matter finalised this calendar year,” Judge Bowman said.

A total of eight witnesses are likely to give evidence in the matter.

Melham was injured last year when the bulk of the alleged bets were made using his partner Karlie Dales‘ betting account.

It is alleged Melham, on or before September 1 last year, allegedly facilitated bets for Dales, through an associate, on Orleans Rock at Geelong, which the top jockey rode to victory.

Melham remains free to continue riding until the matter is resolved.

Originally published asDate set: Top jockey to fight alleged betting charges

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