Police are investigating whether staff at Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Darren Weir’s stables were using a ‘jiggers’ on horses to make them work harder.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Paterson has confirmed four ‘jiggers’, which are taser-like devices, were seized in early morning raids on the champion trainer’s stables in Ballarat and Warrnambool.
Police also seized an unregistered gun and cocaine in the raids.
‘I have heard that there may be footage in the public arena … of jiggers being used,’ Mr Paterson said, appealing for people with information to come forward.
Weir, 48, and a 38-year-old Yangery man, believed to be one of the trainer’s foremen, Jarrod McLean, faced hours of questioning on Wednesday before being released. A 26-year-old was released earlier.
Melbourne Cup winning trainer Darren Weir (left, with Michelle Payne after their 2015 victory) is being investigated for allegedly using an electric ‘jigger’ on his horses to make them work harder
Police raided Weir’s properties at Ballarat (pictured) and Warrnambool in the early hours of Wednesday morning, seizing a gun and a Taser and arresting three people
Weir and his staff are under investigation for using electric jiggers (like those pictured) in an effort to make the horses work harder
A source close to the investigation told Daily Mail Australia rumours had circulated about the country’s top trainer’s ‘for years’.
The investigation’s focus is whether horses had be ‘jigged’ before running.
‘Jiggers’ are the size of a battery, conduct electrical current and are used to ‘shock’ a racehorse into running faster.
While the investigation only commenced one year ago – they are looking back over a number of years – and will include the famous Melbourne Cup win by the Weir-trained horse, ‘Prince of Penzance’ in 2015. The horse was a 100-1 outsider and made Michelle Payne the first women jockey to win the race that stops the nation.
Weir was pictured smiling as he left Ballarat West police station at 2pm – after detectives spent hours quizzing him over alleged criminal activities in his stables.
Officers from the Victoria Police sports integrity unit entered the champion trainer’s stables at Ballarat, in central Victoria, and Warrnambool, in the state’s west at 6am.
Darren Weir is Australia’s leading trainer, with 491 winners in 2018 – a Commonwealth record – earning a staggering $31 million in prize money.
Five Weir-trained horses raced at Mornington on Wednesday, with seven due to start at Pakenham and Werribee on Thursday, and nine at Moonee Valley on Friday.
Weir is Australia’s leading trainer, with 491 winners in 2018 – a Commonwealth record – earning a staggering $31 million in prize money
Weir (left) with Australia’s first female Melbourne Cup-winning jockey, Michelle Payne (right)
There have been no immediate suspensions following Wednesday’s arrests.
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.
The police and Racing Victoria investigations involve obtaining financial advantage by deception and engaging in corrupt conduct.
Police have been investigating Weir, 48, for a number of months and may have video footage from inside the stables is part of those investigations.
SPORTS INTEGRITY MATTERS UNDER INVESTIGATION:
– Obtain financial advantage by deception.
– Engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of event.
– Use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes.
– Attempt to commit indictable offence, namely obtain financial advantage by deception.
Police were seen lining the perimeter of both properties in the early hours and at his on-course stables in Warrnambool reportedly ‘corralled’ his staff.
Horses were also seen being led out of the stables and across the road following the raid.
It is believed the matters investigated by police include obtain financial advantage by deception and engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome.
In a statement, Victoria Police confirmed they had arrested three men at Weir’s twin properties.
Since his Melbourne Cup victory Weir has gone on to become Australia’s most successful horse trainer in recent years.
After securing his training licence in 1995, Weir was initially based in Stawell before moving his operations to Ballarat where he had a meteoric rise.
Weir (pictured) has become Australia’s most successful horse trainer in recent years, training a record 491 winners in 2018 alone
A truck belonging to Weir is searched as part of Wednesday’s police operation
His success of recent years is a far cry from his early beginnings in the sport, which saw him live alone in a caravan after becoming a stablehand at the age of 14.
Working in the bush, he rose through the ranks from strapper to farrier and track rider, before becoming a trainer at just 25.
Over his career he has trained 3452 winners, including 36 Group 1 winners and 2015 Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance – which was a $101 outsider.
Victorian police and racing authorities have moved to crack down on corruption in racing in recent years, with a number of high-profile jockeys and trainers investigated over alleged wrongdoing.
RACING VICTORIA STATEMENT ON RAIDS AT DARREN WEIR:
‘Racing Victoria’s Integrity Services team has been conducting an investigation into the activities of licensed persons in the Warrnambool and Ballarat areas. During the course of our investigation we sought the support of Victoria Police’s Sporting 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.’
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