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Mildura racing industry unhappy with penalty for race-fixing duo -

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MARK COLVIN: Two men from a prominent Victorian harness racing family have pleaded guilty to charges of race-fixing.

Thirty-one-year-old Shayne Cramp and his 58-year-old father Greg were leading trainers in Mildura.

They were banned from the sport when they were arrested early this year and will now remain so.

The two have been sentenced to hundreds of hours of community service.

But other trainers say their effect on the industry was so strong that the sentence should have been longer.

Stephanie Corsetti reports.

STEPHANIE CORSETTI: The father and son duo were world-renowned trainers in the harness racing industry.

In July last year, Shayne Cramp set a record for winning all eight races at a single meeting in Mildura.

COMMENTATOR: Applaud the people of Mildura, your local champion Shayne Cramp looking for the entire card.

STEPHANIE CORSETTI: But Victoria Police's Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit launched an investigation into harness race fixing and betting.

The men were charged with engaging in conduct to corrupt a betting outcome.

Some other charges were struck out today.

The Melbourne Magistrates Court heard transcripts of telephone calls involving Shayne Cramp arranging race results.

The case centred on a race in Mildura on October the 29th last year.

A horse called Fergus McCool won that race - but the tapes show Cramp telling the horse's trainer.

SHAYNE CRAMP (voiceover): If you want to lead that's alright, we'll just sit in the running line or something.

STEPHANIE CORSETTI: The court heard he then sent a message to a harness racing associate and asked him to place a bet on his behalf.

That $100 punt earned him a $750 profit.

At a different race meeting the next month, the court heard there were further calls and messages.

Shayne Cramp called an associate to wager a trifecta - that's a bet on the first, second and third places for the race.

Shayne Cramp's father Greg was driving "Tibytoa", which came second.

Shayne drove the winning horse "In Transit".

The court heard part of a telephone transcript between Greg Cramp and another harness racing associate.

GREG CRAMP (voiceover): Hey how good is it when you back the winner and you run second on your own horse?

ASSOCIATE (voiceover): Oh f------ hell, f------ Shayne was going don't make it look too - I said I don't give a f---.

STEPHANIE CORSETTI: The court heard Shayne Cramp made an $820 profit for that trifecta bet.

The police prosecutor told the court harness racing was a trillion dollar global industry.

The Magistrate Gerard Lethbridge said this case affected the public confidence about whether the industry is clean.

But the lawyer for the Cramps, Trevor Wraight QC, said this case was not the same as an organised syndicate.

Magistrate Lethbridge said the harness racing offending was serious but isolated and it lacked sophistication.

The pair was sentenced to a community correction order.

Shayne Cramp was ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid community work while Greg Cramp must perform 200 hours.

Mildura harness racing trainer Colin Rogers said he and several others in the industry were disappointed with the result.

He believes the proof is in the way the playing field's become more level since the Cramps were suspended.

COLIN ROGERS: It's going to put a bad taste in everyone's mouth.

Since they've been charged well everyone's had a bit of a lick of the ice-cream, everyone's bitten a winner and can keep going.

STEPHANIE CORSETTI: He says the court sentence doesn't send a strong message.

COLIN ROGERS: It's cost the other trainers money with what he was doing and it's cost the public who've bet, you know?

STEPHANIE CORSETTI: And what has it cost you personally?

COLIN ROGERS: Well, as I said, we couldn't hardly get a winner, and everyone needs a winner to keep surviving, but when he was going before, when he was doing all this well I was ready to give the game away, which 13 other trainers did here in Mildura.

Another Mildura trainer Geoff Lucas says the state and federal governments need to do more.

GEOFF LUCS: All that money that gets spent on integrity by Harness Racing Victoria and it comes out of what could be potential state money and it's no different to when the government or the police spend it, they're using taxpayers money.

We've had where they've appointed people to go and look at harness racing and greyhounds and they make suggestions and on it goes but nothing ever changes and that's the real problem.

STEPHANIE CORSETTI: Victoria's Racing Minister and the Racing Integrity Commissioner both declined interviews with PM.

MARK COLVIN: Stephanie Corsetti.