One of the most anticipated races at the Flemington carnival this year is currently in the middle of a criminal investigation involving former trainer Darren Weir along with his stable hand Jarrod McLean, both charged with animal cruelty and conspiracy offences.
The closing stages of the weight for age classic in 2018, also known as the Mackinnon Stakes, has managed to attract the scrutiny of detectives and racing stewards to the Sporting Integrity Unit of the Victoria Police Department, who have formally charged Jarrod McLean with corrupting betting outcomes. He was the trainer of Trap for Fools, the winning horse on the day.
Detectives have recently viewed racing footage that showcased the Trap for Fools jockey using a very unorthodox whipping motion. The detectives believe that the strange whipping motion was intended to simulate a jigger effect which is basically an illegal electronic prodding device that was found at the home and stables of Darren Weir.
John Allen, the jockey who rode for Darren Weir at the Flemington carnival last year, refused to comment when reporters contacted him recently. Allen hasn’t been charged with any offences as of yet and hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoings either.
The Grand National that took place at Sandown last year, a racing event where both McLean and Weir featured, is also under scrutiny at the moment. Cougar Express, a horse trained by McLean, managed to win the race.
The interest by the police in the Grand National race revolves around the riding tactics that were employed by John Allen, on the instructions of Darren Weir, and whether or not they assisted Cougar Express to win the racing event as well.
Darren Weir is currently facing a total of 9 charges that includes weapons offences, cruelty to animals, and defrauding racing stewards.
McLean, a former employee of Darren Weir who managed to establish his very own trainer company, is currently facing a total of 16 charges that includes using corrupt conduct information, engaging in conduct that can corrupt betting outcomes, animal cruelty, and defrauding stewards. He has also been charged with cocaine possession.
There are also two other horse racing figures from the city of Warrnambool that have been charged, including William Hernan as a retired jockey and Tyson Kermond as a stable hand.
The four men are required to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 23 October, 2019.
Hernan, Kermond, and McLean, in separate proceedings, will face the stewards of Racing Victoria on Thursday, while Darren Weir will need to attend an additional stewards’ inquiry on a date that is yet to be confirmed.
The dramatic and substantial 12 month investigation into illegal activities in the world of horse racing has managed to overshadow the start of the Flemington carnival this year which is scheduled to begin in early November 2019.
The charges follow several raids on properties situated in Warrnambool and Miners Rest on 30 January, 2019, during which police managed to seize jiggers at the home and stables of Darren Weir.
Darren Weir, the renowned winning trainer of the Melbourne Cup in 2015 whose massive stable of horses accumulate to over $148 million in total winnings, is currently serving a four-year ban from training after he decided to plead no contest to charges of jigger possession in February at a hearing held by the Victoria Racing disciplinary board.