Accused drug smuggler banned by RNSW, RV
Accused drug smuggler Damion Flower has been hit with interim bans by Racing NSW and will be forced to forfeit his slot in The Everest, the world’s richest turf race.
NSW-based Flower, one of Australia’s biggest racehorse owners, was arrested on Wednesday by police as part of a sting targeting an alleged cocaine smuggling ring operating out of Sydney airport.
He is facing six charges of importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, from January this year.
In a statement issued on Friday, Racing NSW said that they acted immediately under AR23 to issue a show cause to Flower as to why he shouldn’t be stood down from racing to protect the integrity, image and interests of thoroughbred racing while charges are being determined against a person.
The statement went on to say that Racing NSW is in no way ‘prejudging the charges against Mr Flower nor interfering with his entitlement to the presumption of innocence.’
Pending the outcome of the show cause hearing, Racing NSW has imposed interim conditions in respect to Flower’s involvement in racing.
Horses owned by Flower will be permitted to continue to race under condition that any prizemoney earned by Flower will be frozen and held by Racing NSW until all charges against him have been determined.
His registered racing colours of red with white spots will be banned from use in races or barrier trials and, if granted bail, Flower will not be permitted to have any participation in racing, including entering racecourses or stables.
Flower’s slot in the 2019 The Everest will be forfeited by Racing NSW but no decision has yet been made as to how that slot will be re-offered.
A key figure at many major racing events, Flower’s arrest has sent shockwaves through the racing industry.
With shares in more than 50 horses, including champion stallion Snitzel, Flower is managing owner of Jadesky Racing and Platinum Park.
Racing NSW CEO Peter V’Landys would not confirm whether Flower would be banned from future participation in The Everest.
“No matter what the circumstances, Racing NSW will provide due process and natural justice to its participants,” V’Landys said.
“Accordingly, I stress that we are not pre-judging Mr Flower’s case who is entitled to the presumption of innocence and will be given every opportunity to respond to the show cause notice issued by Racing NSW when he is able to so.
“However, in the interim, it is critical that the integrity, image and interests of thoroughbred racing in New South Wales be protected which is why Racing NSW has imposed interim conditions on Mr Flower’s participation in the thoroughbred racing industry.
“It is also important that other racing participants that race horses with Mr Flower are not unfairly prejudiced as a result of the charges against Mr Flower.
“The interim conditions have been framed so that those persons, who are not involved and need to be treated accordingly so as they are not disadvantaged due to circumstance beyond their control, can continue to train and race horses.
Flower has been active during Australia’s premium yearling sales this year, buying eight yearlings at a cost of more than $4.2 million. This was headlined by a $1.2 million I Am Invincible colt.
Racing Victoria stewards issued a statement on Friday afternoon announcing they “will immediately adopt the RNSW interim conditions, pending the hearing and determination of the RNSW show cause hearing”.