In trouble again,
For betting, given 3 months, and a fine
By Tony Meany
October 30, 2009 11:00pm
A QUICK punt in a country betting agency has left one of Queensland's most penalised jockeys in trouble.
Bob El-Issa was yesterday suspended for three months for backing losers. Stewards found him guilty of betting on races and then lying about it.
Last Tuesday El-Issa was seen by part-time steward Gary Meek placing a wager at a suburban Rockhampton shopping centre on his way to the Yeppoon races.
Six jockeys and two Queensland Racing officials were in a Maxi Taxi on the way to the meeting and El-Issa entered an adjourning tavern at the centre.
The other people in the cab were questioned but said they had no information why El-Issa wanted to stop at the centre.
Meek was in the area for an unrelated reason when he saw El-Issa and followed him into the tavern's TAB.
El-Issa placed a $150 all-up bet on two of his mounts – Two Bits and Grand Mark – but neither won. Two Bits ran third and Grand Mark was unplaced.
Meek told stewards at the meeting what he had seen but a search of El-Issa's gear failed to reveal a betting slip.
El-Issa denied having a bet in the TAB and, when stewards asked to see his wallet, he denied having a wallet.
The inquiry yesterday was told El-Issa had been identified by the tavern manager who operated the TAB. Security footage from the TAB confirmed El-Issa placed the bet.
Chief steward Wade Birch said that El-Issa had, by far, the worst record of any jockey in the state for getting into trouble.
"His is easily the worst penalty record I have seen – by a street," Mr Birch said.
El-Issa pleaded guilty to betting and was fined $500 but he was suspended for three months on each charge and the penalties were made concurrent. El-Issa yesterday lodged an appeal against the suspensions and it will be heard by the lower level of the Racing Appeals Tribunal.
Mr Birch said El-Issa had been fined 29 times for run-ins with officials, had been suspended four times and reprimanded nine times. El-Issa has paid a total of $10,500 in fines and that does not include the $200 at Ipswich on Thursday for having a mobile phone in the jockey room.
Last June, he was fined $500 for kicking a horse behind the barriers at the Ipswich races and he has been sidelined for two drug offences. In April, 2006, El-Issa was outed for nine months and ordered into rehabilitation after he tested positive to cocaine in a random drug test at Doomben.
Mr Birch said El-Issa's latest breach would be brought to the attention of the licensing committee of Queensland Racing.
The licensing committee can issue a "show cause" which would require El-Issa to prove he is a fit and proper person to hold a jockey's licence.