Betting activity of banned trainer Darren Weir comes under scrutiny
Disgraced trainer Darren Weir's betting activity is being investigated by Victoria Police, according to reports in Australia, with the former champion trainer suspected of using secret accounts to place bets of more than A$9,000 (£4,729/€5,550) on some races.
The Sunday Herald Sun this weekend released analysis by Victoria Police and racing authorities of Weir’s betting accounts – and those held by his associates – from 2001-19 that led investigators to suspect the former trainer often backed longer-priced runners over his own stable favourite.
The 2018 Australian Guineas, won by Grunt, is given as an example. Weir saddled the $4.60 favourite Cliff's Edge, who finished seventh, but an account – allegedly held by a close friend – placed a A$9,200 bet on Peaceful State, who finished second having been backed into $8.50 (from $11). It is alleged this bet was placed on Weir's behalf.
It is not illegal for trainers to bet in Australia but a total of 80 races have come under close scrutiny, with the authorities believing the size of Weir's bet was connected to his use of 'jiggers'.
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.
Investigators allege Weir placed much larger bets on horses ridden by a favoured jockey, on their fourth start and wearing blinkers – a habit Sunday Herald Sun states Victoria Police suspect was "directly linked to the use of jiggers on horses wearing the headgear while exercising on treadmills" with "the raceday application of blinkers designed to remind the horse of being struck with jiggers".
Weir’s average bet size through his own account was A$845, but it is alleged to be more than A$1,800 when betting through the accounts of his associates. Weir's bets were also alleged to be much bigger than these other accounts would usually stake. In one instance, Weir is suspected of placing a A$4,600 each-way bet through an account that usually bet between $1 and $5.
Weir, 49, was one of Australia's leading trainers before a four-year ban earlier this year after the discovery of 'jiggers' at his Ballarat stable.
He is due in court on February 14 to face a string of animal cruelty and conspiracy offences – including multiple counts of engaging in torturing, abusing, overworking and terrifying a thoroughbred racehorse – as well as possession of a firearm and conspiracy to defraud Racing Victoria stewards.
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