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Top Australian trainer Weir is questioned following police raids.

Byline: Jonathan Harding

LEADING Australian trainer Darren Weir was summoned to Racing Victoria headquarters for questioning on yesterday after four 'jiggers', an unregistered firearm and a substance believed to be cocaine were reportedly confiscated from his stables by police.

The 48-year-old, who trained Prince Of Penzance to win the 2015 Melbourne Cup and is one of the country's most successful trainers, was arrested along with three others on Wednesday when police raided stables in Warrnambool and Ballarat.

A 'jigger' is the local name for an electronic device, usually used with a whip, and is designed to deliver an electronic shock to the horse in a bid to produce a better performance on the track.

After being released without charge, Weir, his assistant trainer Jarrod McLean and foreperson Tyson Kermond were questioned by Racing Victoria stewards. Weir was expected to make a statement afterwards to the gathered media but reportedly changed his mind.

A Racing Victoria statement read: "Stewards opened an inquiry following the execution of search warrants yesterday that saw three licensed racing participants arrested and later released without charge.

"The stewards adjourned their inquiry late this evening to consider the information they have at hand and obtain legal advice. It is expected that a further update will be issued tomorrow."

It is reported Racing Victoria has the option to stand down a licensed person without charges being laid, but the governing body is keen to follow due process and ensure a hearing before taking any potential action - meaning for the time being Weir can continue to have runners.

In New South Wales the situation is different and Weir has been issued a Show Cause notice by Racing New South Wales (NSW) and must now convince the governing body not to refuse any of the trainer's entries, which could prevent him from having runners in Sydney at the upcoming Autumn Carnival.

Racing NSW took similar action against interstate trainers Ben Currie and Liam Birchley last year and stressed the severity of carrying jiggers, with the minimum penalty set at two years.

Chief executive Peter V'landys said: "Racing NSW is on record time and again saying integrity and welfare in this industry is paramount. It is critical the image, interests and integrity of thoroughbred racing in New South Wales are not compromised while Mr Weir's conduct is further investigated.

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

There have been no cases of jiggers in Britain, where the BHA's inspecting officers are trained to identify forbidden items on stable visits.

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Darren Weir: won 2015 Melbourne Cup with Prince Of Penzance

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Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Feb 1, 2019
Words:448
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