Note to mods...wasn't sure if this should be in general news or not. Move as required. cheers
By Amy Bennett7.45AM 2 NOV 2009
New Zealand: An apprentice jockey is believed to have stolen almost NZ$20,000 from disgraced former champion jockey Lisa Cropp before fleeing New Zealand on a stolen passport.
Lisa Cropp: former champion rider
New Zealand's Sunday Star-Times has reported that Malaysian-born Mohammed Yusof, 32, allegedly electronically transferred money from Cropp's account into his TAB betting account several times during August and September and had withdrawn a significant sum in the past fortnight.
Yusof is reported to have flown out of New Zealand on Saturday, accompanied by his wife and three young children, using a passport stolen from a fellow Malaysian jockey.
Yusof, who rode 12 winners last season, recently received a nine month ban from racing following a positive test for methamphetamine at Matamata racecourse on July 23.
During his hearing in front of the Judicial Control Authority on October 12 at which the jockey pleaded guilty, it was stated that Yusof, who was stood down from riding on July 27, was the sole wage earner of his family and had "a number of personal debts". As such no fine was imposed, with the jockey instead ordered to pay a total of $1,750 in costs.
The Sunday Star-Times reported that Cambridge police detective Bill Crowe said an alert for Yusof had been placed with Customs and Interpol had also been informed. New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing's (NZTR) racecourse inspector Bryan McKenzie is also said to be liaising with police, Immigration, and the TAB over the case.
Yusof was apprenticed to the stable of Michael and Paul Moroney, who landed Saturday's Group 1 VRC Derby with Monaco Consul, but his contract was terminated on August 15 following his positive drug test. Having entered New Zealand on a work permit, Yusof's work visa expired when he lost his job, although an application had allegedly been lodged for renewal.
At the JCA hearing, Yusof's former employer Paul Moroney stated that he believed the jockey to have been the subject of undue attention from the stewards, having undergone drug testing on at least three occasions prior to his positive test.
Although Yusof has no previous drugs charges, he received a two month suspension and a $3,700 fine last December for two counts of misconducts involving assaults on two stable staff.
In June, Cropp, champion jockey in New Zealand in 2005-06 and 2006-07, also received a nine month ban from racing and a record fine of $99,500, following a long-running saga relating to a positive test for methamphetamine in June 2005.
Cropp appealed the legality of the original test, claiming a human rights infringement, and fought her case in the High Court, Court of Appeal, and New Zealand Supreme Court. After the Supreme Court ruled the test valid, Cropp was finally found guilty earlier this year.
With no payment of the fine made to NZTR, Cropp was placed on racing's unpaid forfeit list on September 2, effectively disqualifying her from all domestic and international racing.
Due to the Cropp case, the use of drugswithin New Zealand's jockey colony has received much attention recently. With three of the four riders currently listed as disqualified by NZTR placed on the list due to drug related offences, the maximum period of disqualification for serious drug offences was increased from 12 months to five years from October 5 this year.