Thursday, 19 September, 2019

Damning evidence in horse trainer case

Darren Weir has five runners in at Mornington  Image Getty Darren Weir has five runners in at Mornington Image Getty
Shannon Reynolds | 02 February, 2019, 19:27

A Melbourne Cup-winning syndicator will keep sending yearlings to the embattled Darren Weir stable despite the police scrutiny of Victoria's premier trainer.

Police seized four taser-like devices, known as "jiggers" in the racing industry, an unregistered firearm and a suspected quantity of cocaine.

The banned electronic devices have been used by jockeys during races and training in order to shock horses into running faster.

The trio were later released pending further investigation, Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Paterson said, adding the investigation stretched back to last August and involved allegations of corruption in sport.

One of Australia's best-known horse trainers, Darren Weir, is among three men arrested by police early this morning in connection with alleged betting corruption.

In 2015 Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup when she rode the Weir-trained Prince of Penzance to victory. All three were released without charge later on Wednesday.

Police say the allegations include obtaining financial advantage by deception, engaging in conduct that corrupts a betting outcome and use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes as well as animal cruelty.

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Giles Thompson, chief executive of Racing Victoria, said the investigation of Weir's stable is "not good for the image of racing". "We invest a huge amount of resources in our integrity team, and occasionally, you end up with issues like this".

Racing Victoria's executive general manager of the integrity unit, Jamie Stier, confirmed three people had been arrested as they investigated potential offences against the rules of racing.

"Racing Victoria is committed to maintaining the highest integrity standards in our sport and, where appropriate, we will continue to work with Victoria police on those investigations".

Victorian Racing Minister Martin Pakula said the investigation showed authorities were enforcing rules "without fear or favour".

I can't go into the specifics that give rise to the circumstances of each one of those charges because of the complexity of this investigation and because it still is ongoing.

Victoria's champion trainer for the past five seasons, Weir, who operates stables at Ballarat and Warrnambool, has more than 600 horses on his books.

He moved to Ballarat in 2001 and later acquired stables at Warrnambool to complement his Ballarat base.

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