Horse racing-Police raid Melbourne Cup-winning trainer, make arrests

Horse racing-Police raid Melbourne Cup-winning trainer, make arrests
By Reuters

30/01/2019 at 12:41Updated 30/01/2019 at 12:43

MELBOURNE, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Australian police raided the stables of Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Darren Weir on Wednesday as part of an ongoing investigation into corruption and the possible use of electric-shock devices on horses.

Three men, aged 48, 38 and 26 were all arrested on warrants in relation to sporting integrity matters, Victoria Police said in a statement.

Neither Victoria Police, nor Racing Victoria, would confirm whether Weir, who trained Prince of Penzance to Melbourne Cup victory in 2015, was among the three men arrested on raids at properties in Ballarat and Warrnambool in rural Victoria.

The 26-year-old was later released pending further enquiries, Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Paterson told a media conference, where he added that four electric-shock devices, known within the industry as 'jiggers' and which are outlawed, had been discovered at the properties.

"I have heard that there may be footage in the public arena ... of jiggers being used," Mr Paterson said, appealing for people with information to come forward.

Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson refused to identify the parties involved, other than to confirm each is a licensed participant in the state's racing industry.

Local media, however, reported the Weir, 48, was one of the people arrested. Paterson said the 48-year-old man remained in custody.

Racing Victoria alerted Victoria Police after launching investigations last year, Thompson added.

Weir made history in 2015 when Prince of Penzance held off Max Dynamite to win the Melbourne Cup, with Michelle Payne becoming the first female jockey to win the most celebrated horse race in Australasia. (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)