Weir receives four-year disqualification

5 min read

By Bren O'Brien

Champion trainer Darren Weir was disqualified for four years by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board on Wednesday, a week after a raid of his Ballarat stables by police and stewards uncovered three electronic jiggers.

Weir did not contest any of the four charges against him, meaning they were resolved by the RAD Board just seven days after the raids took place. The Board agreed with stewards that a four-year disqualification was in order.

He will not be able to interact with any licence holder in Australian racing for the period of his ban and has been given 10 days to transfer horses under his care.

"Mr Weir will not be permitted to participate in the racing industry in any way over the four-year period, including, but not limited to his participation in the training of horses, attending race meetings and licensed premises and deriving any benefit from the industry," RV Executive General Manager - Integrity, Jamie Stier said.

"The stewards have granted permission for licensed trainer Michael Leonard to assume care of Mr Weir’s horses for a period of up to 28 days." - RV Executive General Manager - Integrity, Jamie Stier

“In the interests of Mr Weir’s owners and staff and the welfare of horses, the stewards have granted permission for licensed trainer Michael Leonard to assume care of Mr Weir’s horses for a period of up to 28 days whilst discussions continue for a permanent solution.”

Andrew Nicholl with Michael Leonard (left)

"During this 28-day period, Mr Leonard will be permitted to oversee the training of horses at Forest Lodge Stables, however, he will not be permitted to nominate horses transferred to him from Mr Weir for any race or official trial."

Weir currently leads the Melbourne's training premiership for the 2018/19 season with 93 wins, 61 victories clear of David, Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, who are his nearest rivals, while he also leads the Victorian and Australian premierships.

Police continue to investigate Weir in the wake of the raids last week, while stewards haven’t ruled out additional charges as their investigation also continues.

Weir's Warrnambool foreman Jarrod McLean opted to contest his charges and his hearing over the possession of a jigger will be heard at a date to be confirmed.

Racing Victoria's Chairman Brian Kruger sent a statement to the state's 50,000 racehorse owners on Wednesday, acknowledging the negative headlines but urging the industry to remain united and to continue to support the hard working participants operating within the rules.

"I have been shocked, then angry and frustrated, that we are again seeing headlines that detract from the amazing work that so many people do to make our industry great." - Brian Kruger

"Personally, I have been shocked, then angry and frustrated, that we are again seeing headlines that detract from the amazing work that so many people do to make our industry great," Kruger said.

Brian Kruger

"However, I can assure you that the Racing Victoria Board and management are more determined than ever to do whatever needs to be done to deliver the highest levels of integrity and the best possible animal welfare outcomes."

"We must do this in order to ensure racing’s image and reputation are where we all want them to be and to ensure our industry remains vibrant and continues to grow."

"We owe nothing less to our participants, our owners and the vast numbers of people that rely on racing for their livelihoods and their enjoyment."

"I do believe our integrity team does an outstanding job in identifying and prosecuting breaches of the Rules of Racing. They are dedicated and passionate about delivering a level playing field for all participants."

"I would like to thank all those who have acknowledged the fantastic work of our integrity team over the course of the last week."

Kruger said the challenge remained to continue to improve integrity measures.

"However, as an organisation and as an industry, we need to work together to become more effective at preventing breaches of integrity occurring in the first place. The Racing Victoria Board and management have already begun working on ideas in this area and it will be an ongoing focus for us over coming weeks and months," he said.

"We need to work together to become more effective at preventing breaches of integrity occurring in the first place." - Brian Kruger

"While we have moved as quickly as possible to deal with the issues that have arisen this past week, there is still a significant amount of work to be done to deal with the fallout from today’s decision of the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board to disqualify Mr Weir for four years."

"Racing Victoria is doing everything possible to assist both the people and the horses that may be affected and for this reason we have added special conditions to the terms of Mr Weir’s disqualification to assist with the transition of horses and employment opportunities for impacted staff."

"While there will no doubt be continued media coverage following today’s decision, I am sure you, like me, are looking forward to seeing some positive stories flowing from some great racing this weekend, as well as the ongoing build up to our inaugural The All-Star Mile."

"In the meantime, thank you for your ongoing support of our fantastic industry."