Darren Weir arrested after stable raids

4 min read
The arrest of Australia's leading trainer Darren Weir by detectives from the Sports Integrity Intelligence Unit has sent shockwaves through the entire industry.

Weir, 48, along with two other men, one aged 38 from Yangery and the other aged 26 from Warrnambool, were arrested by Victoria Police on Wednesday morning after a series of stable raids, which included the Ballarat and Warrnambool properties of the Melbourne Cup winning trainer.

According to a Victoria Police statement, the men were questioned over sporting integrity matters including 'obtaining financial advantage by deception, engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of an event or event contingency, use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes, and attempt to commit indictable offence namely obtain financial advantage by deception'.

"Today's warrants shows that Victoria Police will investigate allegations of corruption in sport and racing and that we do that in partnership with Racing Victoria," assistant commissioner Neil Paterson said.

Darren Weir

Police executed warrants at the two properties around 6am and seized a number of items, among which were a firearm and conducted energy devices.

"We have initially located a number of items which have been seized." - Assistant Commissioner Neil Paterson

Police later revealed that there were four electrical devices recovered, which were referred to as 'jiggers'.

"We have initially located a number of items which have been seized, including what we believe is an unregistered firearm, three conductive energy devices, commonly called tasers or in the racing industry, jiggers and at another property we also seized a fourth conductive energy device and a small quantity of what we believe to be cocaine," Assistant Commissioner Paterson said.

The investigation continues and Assistant Commissioner Paterson described it as complex.

"We are looking at a number of matters. The investigation is ongoing and I don't want to prejudice that investigation with further comment" he said.

No charges have been laid, and Weir left the Ballarat West police station around 2pm on Wednesday.

RV Integrity involved in raid

Racing Victoria released a statement confirming its Integrity department had been conducting an investigation into Weir's training operation for some time.

“During the course of our investigation we sought the support of Victoria Police’s Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit on the matter, instigating their investigation," Racing Victoria executive general manager Integrity, Jamie Stier, said.

“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." - Jamie Stier

Jamie Stier, RV executive general manager Integrity

“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."

“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.”

Police later confirmed it became involved in the investigation as early as last August.

A wealth of success

Weir has been phenomenally successful, training 36 Group 1 winners, including most famously, Prince of Penzance (NZ) (Pentire {GB}) in the 2015 Melbourne Cup.

He has rewritten Australian records, training an extraordinary 491 winners in 2017/18, breaking Australian and Commonwealth records in the process.

Darren Weir with Michelle Payne after Prince Of Penzance's Melbourne Cup win

His stable has become one of Australia's biggest, with 100s of horses spread across his three properties at Miner's Rest near Ballarat, Warrnambool and his new property at Maldon.

He emerged from a humble background as a kid from Berriwillock in northern Victoria who initially set up a small stable at Stawell, while he also worked as a farrier.

She's Archie (Archway {Ire}) first launched him into the public eye when she won the 2002 G1 South Australian Oaks. Eighteen months later, she went within 1.5l of winning a G1 Melbourne Cup, beaten only by the triple Cup winner Makybe Diva (GB) (Desert King {Ire}).

A dominant trainer on country circuits in Victoria, the move to Ballarat helped spark Weir's career, and in 2013 he collected his second Group 1 with the mare Platelet (Strategic) in the Robert Sangster S.

Darren Weir is known as the King of Country Cups

Since then, he has gone from strength to strength. He built from 183 winners in 2012/13, to 253 in 2013/14, 298 in 2014/15, 347 in 2015/16, 449 in 2016/17 and 491 last season.

Prior to Wednesday's raids he had 265 winners in the first six months of this season, on track to break the 500 mark.

Last spring carnival in Melbourne he won the G1 Victoria Derby, the G1 Manikato S. the G1 Toorak Hcp, the G1 Thousand Guineas and the G1 Memsie S.

He has been permitted to continue to train by Racing Victoria stewards.