Horse racing-New Zealand cracks down on jockey bets amid scandal

WELLINGTON, Sept 10 (Reuters) - New Zealand has rushed to ban jockeys from making wagers on days when they are riding in the wake of a betting scandal which has embroiled one of the nation's top riders.

The country's horse racing watchdog charged local jockey David Walker last week for betting on rival horses in two separate races and pulling up on his own mounts. If found guilty, Walker faces a maximum life ban.

New rules preventing jockeys from betting on their own race days would come into force on Thursday, local media reported.

"The appearance as well as the practice of integrity is critical against a backdrop of rapidly developing gambling options which are creating issues for many sports," Fairfax Media quoted New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing chairman Matthew Goodson as saying on Wednesday.

New Zealand has previously had a relaxed approach to jockeys betting, allowing riders to bet on their own mounts and on other races in which they are not riding.

The horse racing authority has also moved to tighten controls on how jockeys place bets, limiting them to using electronic means, New Zealand media said. (Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)