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Big Punter Fletcher 12-Months Ban For El-Issa "Non-Triers"
Racing Queensland stewards announced they have disqualified professional punter Stephen Fletcher for 12 months "effective immediately" following last month's determination that he was "a party to the failure of the horse" Bold Glance (ridden by Bobby El-Issa) to "run on its merits" when beaten by Essington at Eagle Farm on February 26. The stewards previously noted: El-Issa (who has already been disqualified for 2 years) "did not run Bold Glance on its merits; Fletcher is a close associate of El-Issa; Fletcher is a large scale professional punter; prior to the race in question, Fletcher had a history of successfully laying horses ridden by El-Issa to the extent that is not similar to any other rider; Fletcher's explanation is not supported by his Betfair history; Fletcher was a significant financial beneficiary of El-Issa's failure to run Bold Glance on its merits; Fletcher's backing of Essington & laying of Bold Glance was done on the basis of information from El-Issa that Bold Glance would not try to defeat Essington." In their latest announcement confirming Fletcher's penalty, stewards added he "is a professional punter who derives part of his livelihood from wagering on thoroughbred racing"; "the offence found to have been committed on this occasion is a very serious one"; "Fletcher's conduct has the capacity to deter those already involved in the sport from continuing their association, and may discourage individuals from becoming involved in, or wagering on the sport"; Fletcher "was not the principal offender"; however Fletcher "was a significant financial beneficiary of the conduct of jockey El-Issa".