The Big Fix


Herald Sun




All Media: Sports Journalism

Leo Schlink’s exposé led to a raft of new integrity measures for Racing Victoria. In a string of exclusive reports, Schlink diligently developed the story of champion horses being doped in some of Australia’s biggest races, while trainers and stable staff allegedly evaded Racing Victoria’s security network.

One trainer and two of his former employees were banned for life; another five trainers and stable hands were disqualified. Judge John Bowman described it as one of the “darkest and longest chapters in the history of Australian turf”. In the wake of the scandal, the Victorian Government introduced a bill to bolster integrity measures, including independent oversight and a robust disciplinary framework to combat corruption.

Leo Schlink started his career at The Advertiser in Adelaide in 1981, completing his cadetship before moving to Channel Nine to cover sport and general news. He moved to the Herald Sun in 1996, transferred to London as bureau chief in 2002, and has continued to cover various sports since returning to the Herald Sun.

Judges’ comments:

“Horse racing has long had its problems, but nothing prepared the sport or the public for the revelations contained in Leo Schlink’s explosive stories. Schlink’s investigative journalism lays bare a doping scandal operating in the sport’s biggest arenas, and does so in damning detail. These stories, which implicate a leading trainer, have stimulated significant changes to the oversight of integrity in Australian racing.”