Jockey Club director of racing Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges yesterday admitted the latest allegations of race-fixing and the negative publicity they have generated at home and abroad are 'a major setback' for the image of Hong Kong racing. But he maintained the Jockey Club was on the right track in its efforts to improve the sport's integrity and international status. 'The perception for Hong Kong racing is bad whatever the outcome and certainly a blow to our concept of world-class racing and entertainment,' he said. 'I think that despite this case we are building a world-class racing product. Even though there are perhaps allegations that a few Jockey Club employees might have been involved in this matter, that should not denigrate the efforts of so many other Jockey Club employees who are doing such a good job. 'If you look at our product overall the picture is still a good one, but I agree that the perception of something like this is a major setback.' The allegations of race-fixing are the first to rock Hong Kong racing since 1999 when former champion apprentice Stanley Chin was jailed for 3.5 years on two counts of conspiracy to cheat at gambling. Chin had accepted $1 million from a mainland businessman and used it to bribe other apprentice jockeys not to finish in the top three in a Sha Tin race in 1996. The case also saw Ricky Choi Chun-wai and Keith Kwok Ting jailed for 12 and six months respectively for accepting bribes. Engelbrecht-Bresges said the Jockey Club was determined to root out illegal activities but added that no-one should jump to conclusions about the latest case. 'Let me say that if any involvement of the jockeys or the Jockey Club employees with illegal bookmaking is proved the Jockey Club will show no mercy,' he said. 'In the past we have caught an employee on the phone talking to an illegal bookmaker during a race meeting and that employee was dismissed on the spot. We will not tolerate this kind of thing. 'But when you start to talk about race-fixing then you are talking about something else and something which is regarded very seriously, especially when you are talking about our champion jockey of two years ago. This case will attract worldwide publicity and the serious matter of race-fixing must demand some serious proof.'