By TONY WHITE
CHIEF steward Bill Fanning yesterday at Coffs Harbour questioned several people in camera over betting activities involving an inquiry into jockey Allan Robinson's handling of Zouzou at Grafton on July 12.
The behind-closed-doors-phone-calls were made after Robinson and trainers Tim and Craig Martin supplied Fanning with detailed phone records.
"We asked several questions and rang a number of people," Fanning admitted of the 30-minute session, which was closed to the press.
"Betting details were also discussed."
Fanning added Tim Martin, the big-betting Sydney trainer of Second Choice, which won the event under scrutiny, "was questioned over his betting activities on the race."
Fanning earlier acceded to a request from Robinson and Tim Martin that details of their phone records and people they called not be aired in a public forum.
Martin said outside the inquiry he had backed both Second Choice and Robinson's mount Zouzou, trained at Tamworth by his brother Craig.
"It was a similar result if either had won," Martin contended. "I thought mine could win but Craig's horse was the danger. I saved on it."
Records tended at the protracted inquiry earlier yesterday confirmed Martin placed $5000 on Zouzou through an associate.
Craig Martin revealed he had a small wager on Zouzou, but the owners of the horse, principally Phil Greenwood, had not supported Zouzou.
Alan Osburg, part-owner of Second Choice, ridden by Robyn Freeman, tendered a letter stating he had discussions with Martin the day before the race.
Osburg said in the letter Martin told him he intended to "back the horse substantially" and was confident of Second Choice winning, but suggested I have a saver on Zouzou.
Robinson said to Fanning: "Trying to marry my ride with someone else's betting is hard to do."
"That's one of our lines of inquiry, that's what we're charged to do," Fanning replied.
"That's why you sit there and we sit here."
Craig Martin said he believed Zouzou was fit enough to win but did have some doubts running a strong 1200m first up.
"I told Robbo to go forward, the last 100 metres they may catch you," Martin said.
Robinson had been booked for two mounts in the race but got off the Brett Dodson-trained Secret Walk to ride for Craig Martin. Robinson told the inquiry Tim Martin had never contacted him for the Second Choice ride.
Explaining his ride Robinson told the inquiry: "The horse (Zouzou) felt awful. He hung out and wouldn't go to the fence." Robinson admitted he had used "different stages of vigour" in riding Zouzou along after crossing to the lead.
"After establishing the lead why not try and steady?" Fanning asked Robinson.
"That was my decision, my experienced decision, on the day," Robinson replied.
"It was going to stop if I didn't. It felt awful. About 600 metres from home, I was gone."
Fanning questioned Robinson over his turning to look inside before the home turn and his tactics in not attempting 'to shut the gate' on Freeman when she tried to push up inside.
"She (Freeman) was yelling to Robert Thompson going 'yah, yah, yah' and I'm thinking she's yelling at me, that's why I had a look inside," Robinson said.
"At the home turn she was yelling my name."
"Why not shut the gate," Fanning asked. "I'm racing on a horse away from the rail anyway."
"Is that my job?" Robinson fired back. "It's not my job to stop Robyn Freeman. It's my job to win on my horse."
"Did you make it easier for Robyn Freeman's horse to win?" Fanning queried.
"Show me where. I did not let Tim Martin's horse win."
The inquiry was adjourned to a date to be fixed.