The ICAC vs Robbie Fradd case is scheduled to open on Monday and, while the witness list is public information, the defence team admits to not knowing who will act for the ICAC side. Fradd and fellow jockey John Egan, who has yet to return from Britain to Hong Kong to face ICAC charges, were among the 21 people arrested in February as part of Operation Green Grass. Fradd was charged on August 7 with one count of allegedly cheating at gambling by preventing his mount, Winning Dragon, from running to his best ability at Happy Valley and therefore dishonestly influencing the outcome of the race. That charge alleged that 'Fradd had won money for himself or for any other person unascertained, in connection with the placing of bets with the Hong Kong Jockey Club on the outcome of a horse race on January 16, 2002, by a false practice'. Fradd pleaded not guilty, was granted bail of $150,000 in cash and has been free to come and go since, riding in South Africa while awaiting the hearing. Fradd has ridden 16 winners at a better than 20 per cent strike rate since the start of the South African season, so he doesn't seem to have lost his touch. The defence witnesses will include a lineup of the five professional race stewards of the Jockey Club who officiated on January 16. Their testimony always seemed highly likely, but even of itself is of some concern regarding perceptions of the integrity of Hong Kong racing. The man in the street may well skim only briefly over the reports of the actual evidence of the case and wonder why the stipendiary stewards are being questioned. On the ICAC side, the list is made up of Winning Dragon's owner, Lo Ying-bin, trainer John Size, Size's assistant trainer, Benno Yung Tin-pang, Jockey Club vet Dr Peter Schiff and a Size stable work rider. Also listed is an associate professor of linguistics at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, who is to testify on the amplification of a secretly recorded conversation, allegedly between Fradd and a Jockey Club employee. However, missing from the list is New Zealand greyhound steward Gavin Whiterod, who was among the ICAC expert witnesses listed when Fradd entered his not guilty plea on September 17. In his place is a blank, an expert witness represented by a number, but as yet unnamed. Since the replay of the race is out in the public domain for all to view and make their own conclusions, the most interesting aspect of the ICAC case promises to be the tale on the tape collected from the jockeys' colours room. What is on that recording and the interpretation of its implications will be important to all sides. Since no one will know what was said or even alleged to have been said until it comes out in court, we cannot know if this 'smoking gun' in the prosecution case is simple and unambiguous or wrapped in racing's own unique jargon. In a famous racing scandal which arose from the secretly recorded telephone conversations of a drug dealer in Australia some 20 years ago, a lack of understanding of racing terminology led to a childish error, equally embarrassing for the jockey involved and the law enforcers. Known as 'The Age Tapes', the case included one conversation between the drug dealer, the late Robert Trimbole, and the jockey who rode one of his racehorses and told him it had 'pulled up well'. This was misinterpreted as meaning he had stopped the horse, when any person familiar with racing knows the expression is an innocent one to indicate that the horse had recovered quickly from the exertion of the race.