Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Darren Weir has been disqualified from racing for four years by Racing Victoria, after a disciplinary hearing was told electric-shock ‘jiggers’ were found in his bedroom.
He 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.
Judge John Bowman said Weir’s rags-to-riches story, which he detailed, made his “fall sadder and more tragic”.
Mr Bowman said Weir would be remembered for his association with “instruments of cruelty” and “high-level cheating”.
The charges were laid by Racing Victoria following joint raids with Victoria Police at several properties last week, including Weir’s stables near Ballarat and Warrnambool.
Weir opted not to fight the Racing Victoria charges relating to the jiggers.
Racing Victoria’s lawyer, Jeff Gleeson QC, said someone of Weir’s standing, who could not explain why they had jiggers in their possession, required disqualification.
He told the hearing the location of the jiggers, in a main bedroom, indicated Weir had “a direct and personal” knowledge of them and a “desire to conceal the devices”.
He said Weir was putting “winning ahead of welfare of horses” and had “tarnished” the industry in a way that was “unforgettable”.
Weir had offered no expression of remorse, and had not given an explanation why that was the case, Mr Gleeson said.
Though he conceded that could be because of the ongoing police investigation.
Weir’s legal representative, Patrick Wheelahan, stated that while the racing identity made an agreement with Racing Victoria stewards regarding a four-year disqualification, he did not agree with the submissions made by Mr Gleeson.
Mr Wheelahan said his client wanted to have his case dealt with straight away as he had witnessed cases that went on for years, causing more damage to the industry.