Australian Thoroughbred

A-Z of Australian Horse Racing and Breeding.

Darren Weir can expect four-year ban
Feb 5 2019

Champion trainer Darren Weir will not contest charges related to banned devices known as jiggers and can expect to be banned for at least four years.

Racing Victoria stewards will ask the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board hear the case against Weir as soon as possible and told the trainer before he said he would not contest the charges they would be asking for a four-year disqualification.

Weir's assistant, licensed trainer Jarrod McLean, will fight a charge of possessing a jigger and will be allowed to train until a RAD Board hearing.

Both trainers spent around 11 hours in a closed show cause hearing on Monday before RV issued a statement detailing the findings.

The jiggers were found when stewards and officers from Victoria Police's sports integrity unit raided Weir's stables at Ballarat and Warrnambool on Wednesday last week and arrested the pair.

RV said until the RAD Board hearing which could be this week, Weir is not allowed to nominate horses in any trials or races, that any horses entered to race be withdrawn and that he cannot accept with any horse nominated to race in coming days.

For those horses to start they will need to be transferred to another stable before acceptance time.

In addition to rule breaches relating to the jiggers, Weir and McLean were charged with failing to answer questions at the opening of a stewards' inquiry on Thursday and conduct prejudicial to racing.

Legal representatives from RV and the two trainers worked on reaching an agreement throughout Monday after Weir and McLean arrived at RV headquarters shortly before 2pm.

The final settlement was reached after 1am on Tuesday.

The pair left through a side exit of the RV building without speaking to the media.

Stewards have placed significant conditions on McLean until his case is heard including not being allowed to take any horses that were trained by Weir before January 30.

Authorities will not pursue charges against stable employee, Tyson Kermond, who was also charged last week for failing to give evidence.

RV head of integrity Jamie Stier said it was a complex matter with stewards determined to give due consideration to the submissions made along with ongoing investigations.

"Darren Weir is facing serious charges of possessing three electrical apparatus and conduct prejudicial to the interests or image of racing," Stier said.

"He has advised the stewards that he will not contest those charges which have drawn considerable negative publicity to the sport.

"Until such time as the RAD Board convenes to hear and determine Mr Weir's charges, the stewards have imposed strict conditions on his licence that ensure he is not permitted to enter or race any horses as a trainer or owner.

"On the basis that Mr McLean advised the stewards that he will contest the charges against him, significant conditions have also been imposed on his operation until such time as the charges have been heard and determined by the RAD Board.

"In reaching these positions on the show cause notices, the stewards note that investigations remain ongoing and that they reserve the right to act upon any new evidence that comes to hand during the course of those investigations."

A five-time Melbourne premiership winner, Weir gained international fame as the trainer of 2015 Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance.

Craig Brennan - AAP

Darren Weir charged over jiggers
Feb 1 2019

Australia's leading racehorse trainer Darren Weir is fighting for his career with stewards asking him to show why he should not be stood down pending an inquiry into electronic devices found in his stables.

Racing Victoria stewards charged Weir on Friday and withdrew all his horses from meetings over the weekend, including feature race runners at Caulfield on Saturday.

They then adjourned the show cause hearing until Monday afternoon.

Weir has been charged with possessing three taser-like devices known as jiggers and also with failing to give evidence to the stewards inquiry and conduct prejudicial to the image of racing.

RV opened the inquiry on Thursday, a day after they and Victoria Police officers from the sports integrity unit raided his stables at Warrnambool and Ballarat where they found the jiggers designed to give a horse an electric shock.

His assistant, licensed trainer Jarrod McLean who runs the Warrnambool stable, has also been charged with possession of a device and with failure to answer questions at the inquiry.

McLean has also been asked to show cause why he should not be stood down and his runner on Friday night at Moonee Valley was scratched.

RV's head of integrity, Jamie Stier, said while he realised the impact of the horses' withdrawals on owners, the seriousness of the case warranted the action as "the integrity of the sport is paramount."

"The stewards have imposed an interim order that all horses accepted to race from the Darren Weir and Jarrod McLean stables from tonight at Moonee Valley through until Monday be withdrawn with immediate effect pending the conduct of a show cause hearing," he said in a statement.

"The stewards are concerned about the seriousness of the threat posed by Mr Weir's and Mr McLean's alleged possession of an electronic apparatus. This is a significant issue in terms of animal welfare and racing integrity.

"The investigation has caused considerable public concern, and has generated considerable negative publicity, bringing into question the impact on the image, interests and integrity of racing of Mr Weir and Mr McLean's continued participation in racing pending the hearing of the charges."

A third man, stable employee Tyson Kermond, has been charged with failure to give evidence at the initial inquiry.

A former country trainer who has risen to be a five-time Melbourne premiership winner, Weir runs the biggest stable in Australia with more than 600 horses on the books and dozens of staff at both locations.

His biggest win so far came in the 2015 Melbourne Cup when 100-1 chance Prince Of Penzance claimed a famous victory for jockey Michelle Payne.

In the 2016/17 season, Weir became the first to train more than 400 Australian winners, winning 449 races, surpassing that in 2017/18 with 491 victories for prize money of more than $31 million

So far this season he has trained 265 winners who have earned almost $19 million prize money.

Caryl Williamson - AAP

Darren Weir issued show-cause by RacingNSW

Champion Victorian trainer Darren Weir will have to show cause why he should be allowed to race horses in NSW after electronic devices were found in his stables.

Racing Victoria integrity stewards and officers from the Victorian police sports integrity department swooped on stables at Ballarat and Warrnambool on Wednesday, finding four electronic devices, commonly known as jiggers.

On Thursday, Racing NSW issued the show cause notice, saying the seriousness of the reports prompted the action.

"Racing NSW has on Thursday, 31 January 2019, issued a Show Cause Notice to Victorian licensed trainer Mr Darren Weir as to why the provisions of AR50 should not be invoked against Mr Weir in respect of declining to receive or rejecting the nominations of horses trained by him for races in New South Wales," the governing body said in a statement.

"The Show Cause Notice was issued in light of the seriousness of the reported allegations concerning Mr Weir and the responsibility of Racing NSW to protect the image, interests and integrity of racing, further noting that Mr Weir has nominated a number of horses for the Golden Slipper and nominations for The Championships are approaching.

"In this respect, the use and possession of electronic apparatus such as tasers/jiggers is an offence under AR175(hh)(i) and (ii) with a mandatory minimum penalty of 2 years disqualification for any use or attempt to use.

"The seriousness of these offences is illustrated by the disqualification of a NSW licensed trainer for 2 years for having a similar electronic apparatus simply in his possession."

Racing NSW stewards have recently taken similar action against Queensland trainers Liam Birchley and Ben Currie.

Birchley is appealing a ban in the Aquanita case in Victoria while Currie is the subject of a Racing Queensland inquiry into positive swabs.

"Racing NSW is on record time and again as saying integrity and welfare in this industry is paramount. Accordingly, no individual's interest should outweigh the confidence of the public in the integrity and welfare of the industry," chief executive Peter V'landys said.

"It is critical that the image, interests and integrity of thoroughbred racing in New South Wales are not compromised while Mr Weir's conduct is further investigated.

"Mr Weir will be given the opportunity to respond to the Show Cause Notice to ensure that he is provided with natural justice and procedural fairness."

Darren Weir among three arrested after raids and seizures 

Australia’s champion trainer Darren Weir was among three people arrested during a police raid of his Victorian stables yesterday, where a gun, tasers and a substance believed to be cocaine were seized. Victoria Police and Racing Victoria officials raided stables at Miners Rest and Warrnambool from 6am yesterday and took three people - Weir, 48, a 38-year-old Yangery man and a 26-year-old Warrnambool man - into questioning. The trio were released pending further investigation, Victoria Police assistant commissioner Neil Paterson said, adding that the complex investigation stretched back to August and involved allegations of corruption in sport. “I have heard that there may be footage in the public arena … of jiggers being used,” Paterson said, before appealing for people with information to come forward. Paterson said an unregistered firearm and three conductive energy devices, known as jiggers, were seized from one property during the raids and a fourth device and suspected quantity of cocaine at a second. “This is a complex investigation making an assessment of many aspects of evidence and I anticipate that assessment will take some time before we can make decisions in context of charges,” he added. Further matters in question reportedly include obtaining financial advantage by deception, engaging in conduct that corrupts a betting outcome and use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes.
Weir is Australia’s most prolific trainer and won the 2015 Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) with Prince Of Penzance (Pentire), ridden by Michelle Payne who became the first woman to win the Group 1. Five Weir-trained horses raced at Mornington on Wednesday, with several due to start at Pakenham and Werribee on Thursday, as well as Moonee Valley on Friday.
There has been no news of suspensions following Wednesday’s raids arrests, while Darren Weir Racing released the following statement to owners in relation to yesterday’s events. “Dear owner, as you are most likely aware, Darren Weir Racing is the subject of an external review. At this time the investigation is ongoing. “Our main aim is to ensure our owners are not disadvantaged by this process in anyway, and accordingly it is business as usual in regards to the training and care of your horses. We will make a more detailed announcement as soon as possible and are hopeful this will occur sometime tomorrow. “Thank you for your ongoing support, consideration and loyalty to Darren Weir Racing.”
 In an earlier statement, Racing Victoria executive general manager of Integrity, Jamie Stier, said Victorian Police had executed warrants at Weir's Warrnambool and Ballarat stables. “Racing Victoria’s Integrity Services team has been conducting an investigation into the activities of licensed persons in the Warrnambool and Ballarat areas," Stier said. "During the course of our investigation we sought the support of Victoria Police’s Sporting @anz_news Darren Weir among three arrested after raids and seizures at his Victorian stables Integrity Intelligence Unit on the matter, instigating their investigation. “The Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit this morning executed warrants at properties in Warrnambool and Ballarat where they arrested three licensed persons for questioning. "Members of the Racing Victoria Integrity Services team attended licensed stables to assist Victoria Police and to investigate potential offences against the Rules of Racing. “As the matters are the subject of on-going investigations by Victoria Police and Racing Victoria we are not at liberty at this time to disclose the identities of the persons arrested nor the details of the investigations. “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”. “As minister for racing and a racing lover, I’m committed to maintaining the integrity of our sport and any allegations of breaches are extremely disappointing,” he said in a statement.