Sport

Crazy Racing Story From Australia

Paul Collins
Paul Collins

07:12 6 Feb 2019


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Heard about the controversy gripping Australia's racing industry?

Trainer Darren Weir has been banned for four years after deciding not to contest charges of possessing equipment used to deliver electric shocks to horses.

Police seized four of the illegal Taser-type devices at the Melbourne Cup winner's stables in January.

At a hearing with Racing Victoria, Mr Weir, said he would not contest three charges brought against him.

The story broke less than a week ago.

Weir's Assistant trainer Jarrod McLean will contest some of the charges he faces.

Charges against a third man, Tyson Kermond, of failing to assist the stewards will not be pursued.

Weir is one of Australia's top trainers and claimed a landmark victory in the 2015 Melbourne Cup when jockey Michelle Payne won aboard Prince Of Penzance.

It was a day when Michelle rode into the history books as the first female ever, to win Australia's biggest race.

Last week police seized a firearm, a substance believed to be cocaine and the electronic devices at Weir's stables.

The devices are known as 'jiggers' and can cause horses to run faster in conjunction with a jockey using their whip.

From an historic Melbourne Cup win a few short years ago in 'the race that stops a nation', this is a story that has gripped a nation of sports lovers.

According to the verdict, because the devices were found in a master bedroom, indicating Weir had "a direct and personal" knowledge of them and a "desire to conceal them.'

The ruling said Weir was putting "winning ahead of welfare of horses" and had "tarnished" the industry in a way that was "unforgettable".

Weir was banned for possessing the outlawed devices, which are known to be used to mentally condition horses to run faster in races, and for behaviour prejudicial to the image of racing.

Apart from his reputational damage the trainer will be feeling the effects in his bank balance.

Horses prepared by Weir in 2017-18 earned a collective $31.3m in prizemoney – $3m directly in Weir’s pocket from the 10% return of winnings. That’s not including his training fees paid by thousands of racehorse owners who thought they were having their four-legged investments prepared by a genius.

Surely a gamble not worth taking.

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