ThoroughBred Racing

Video shows Weir using a jigger 7 times on Red Cardinal, 9 times on Tosen Basil, and 9 times on Yogi

Video shows Weir using a jigger 7 times on Red Cardinal, 9 times on Tosen Basil, and 9 times on Yogi

Darren Weir told Racing Victoria stewards he came up with a plan to use an electronic jigger on a week before the Melbourne Cup because it had lost five lengths and he felt under self-imposed pressure for it to improve, a tribunal heard on Monday.

Weir has been accused of three counts of engaging in conduct to corrupt the outcome of a race, including the 2018 Melbourne Cup.

A 15-minute secret police video was played to the Victorian Racing Tribunal on Monday that showed Weir pulling a hand-sized jigger from his jeans pocket and using it seven times on Red Cardinal, nine times on Tosen Basil, and nine times on Yogi while they were running on a treadmill at his Warrnambool stables on October 30, 2018.

The video showed then-assistant trainer Jarrod McLean standing beside Weir hitting the horses on the rump with a piece of plastic “polly” pipe, while then-stablehand Tyson Kermond was also beside the treadmill.

Japanese-bred Tosen Basil and Yogi did not make the Cup field the following Tuesday, while Red Cardinal ran second last.

Weir appeared at the Victorian Racing Tribunal on Monday and pleaded not guilty to three charges of engaging in conduct to affect the outcome of a race. He pleaded guilty to three charges of using a jigger on horses, three charges of animal cruelty and one charge of improper and dishonourable conduct.

McLean and Kermond pleaded not guilty to three charges of engaging in conduct to affect the outcome of a race as well as a charge of improper and dishonourable conduct. They pleaded guilty to using a jigger.

Racing Victoria’s counsel, Albert Dinelli, KC, told the hearing in his opening submission that the practice of using a jigger on a horse wearing blinkers in the lead up to races was “classical conditioning”.

 

It is alleged that a horse would associate wearing blinkers and being struck with a whip during a race with getting an electric shock, and therefore run faster.

Dinelli said the video would show Weir, McLean and Kermond looking out of the Warrnambool stable while the horses were on the treadmill, knowing their conduct was prohibited and the “arrangement was to keep it secret from others”.

Dinelli said there was “only one explanation for the application of the jigger to each of Red Cardinal, Tosen Basil and Yogi, and that was the intention to corrupt the outcome of a race”.

In a January 2023 interview with stewards, Weir said: “I’m not trying to make any excuses for what I did, but I’m just saying I used to put – no one would know that I put pressure on myself. It’s a very poor decision.”

Weir told stewards that Red Cardinal had surgery before he came to his stable and “was underperforming”, while they dreamt of Yogi running in the Melbourne Cup but “realistically, he wasn’t good enough”.

“And Tosen Basil, I put a certain amount of – I shouldn’t, but I used to put a certain amount of pressure on myself because, I mean, if you pay two and a half million dollars for a horse and he lost five lengths since he’s gone to your stable, it doesn’t look well,” he told stewards.

Weir told stewards that he was trying to get the horses fitter and more focussed and was hoping they would “perform a bit better”.

“They were horses that were – you know, it wasn’t as if they were trying to win a maiden,” Weir said.

“The horses were at a high level that were on a decline, and we were trying to get them back up to a high level and that’s when I came up with the idea, you know, run ’em longer on the treadmill to try and get them fitter.

“Obviously, their form didn’t improve, so we immediately stopped. I just was trying to see whether it worked, but it didn’t work. That’s why I never tried it again.

“I wasn’t comfortable doing it and the outcome certainly did not help, so that was the end of that.”

Weir told stewards he knew he was breaking the rules of racing, but “I was just trying to get them to run to the best of their ability. Not better than their ability.”

Dinelli told the tribunal that Weir’s evidence was enough to satisfy the relevant intention to corrupt the outcome of a race.

Both Red Cardinal and Yogi joined other stables and continued to run after Weir was disqualified for four years in 2019 for possession of jiggers, while Tosen Basil did not run again after October 30.

Weir won the 2015 Melbourne Cup with Prince Of Penzance, ridden by Michelle Payne.

Ian Hill, KC, appeared for Weir, while Damian Sheales represented McLean and Kermond at the hearing.

The tribunal, who gathered in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, comprised chairman Judge John Bowman, Judge Kathryn Kings and former Racing Victoria chief steward Des Gleeson.

The hearing continues.

1 Comment

  • Geoff allen
    March 19, 2024

    Not in common .Been happening for years an will continue to get best results

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