There’s huge news in Australian racing this morning: champion trainer Darren Weir has had his stable operations raided by police and racing stewards, with Weir and two other men being arrested.
Detectives and stewards descended on Weir’s operations in both Warrnambool and Ballarat this morning, with Weir having just returned from the Karaka Sales in New Zealand, and foreman Jarrod McLean believed to be returning from annual leave.
Victoria Police released the following statement:
Detectives from the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit have executed warrants at properties in the Warrnambool and Ballarat areas this morning as part of an ongoing investigation.
Police executed warrants from just before 6am today.
The properties were located in Miners Rest and Warrnambool.
Detectives from the Ballarat Divisional Response Unit were also involved in this morning’s operation.
Three people have been arrested including a 48-year-old Miners Rest man, a 38-year-old Yangery man and a 26-year-old Warrnambool man.
They will now be interviewed in relation to sporting integrity matters including obtain financial advantage by deception, engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of event or event contingency, use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes, and attempt to commit indictable offence namely obtain financial advantage by deception.
A number of items including a firearm and what is believed to be a conducted energy device were also seized from the properties.
The investigation remains ongoing and has also been assisted by Racing Victoria.
Media are reporting that police seized a number of items during the raid, including a firearm and an “electrical conducting device”, believed to be a taser.
Delivering electric jolts to horses in training is a prohibited practice designed to shock the horse into running faster. The practice (and the cues leading up to it) can then be simulated on raceday to boost the horse’s performance through fear.
Rumours of incriminating activities in a large stable – and the possible existence of footage of these activities – have circulated in racing for some months.
Weir has won the past five Victorian metropolitan trainers’ premierships. He trained an Australian record of 491 winners in the 2017/18 season, with combined prizemoney earnings of more than $31 million. His training operations at Warrnambool, Ballarat and Maldon care for hundreds of racehorses from a huge range of owners.