CONFIRMED | Darren Weir handed four-year ban from racing

CONFIRMED | Darren Weir handed four-year ban from racing”

Hall of Fame trainer Lee Freedman has spoken publicly following Darren Weir's disqualification, saying "I think it was probably the worst kept secret in racing".

It comes after three electronic devices - known as jiggers - were found at his property.

In addition to the breaches relating to the jiggers, Weir and McLean were charged with failing to answer questions at the opening of a stewards' inquiry on Thursday and conduct prejudicial to racing.

He said Weir can have nothing to do with racing for four years and will need to reapply for his licence.

Weir reportedly became emotional as his list of training achievements were read out before the verdict was handed down.

"Until a week ago, you could be described as a leviathan trainer. with hundreds of horses, owners that number in the thousands, with a staff of 150", RAD chairman Judge John Bowman said in delivering the punishment.

Gleeson said the jiggers had been found in the master bedroom of Weir's Ballarat property, suggesting a desire to hide them from stewards.

"He's one of the most substantial and significant trainers in Australian thoroughbred history. he's a champion trainer of one of the biggest stables in the world".

He said the four-year disqualification the stewards sought was appropriate.

"Locating these devices in a bedroom also suggests a desire to hide these devices from the stewards".

The practice, he said, puts "winning ahead of the welfare of horses".

Weir had offered no expression of remorse, and had not given an explanation why that was the case, Mr Gleeson said.

Two other charges of failing to give evidence and failing to comply with stewards directions were dropped after Weir agreed on Monday not to contest the charges.

The fact that Weir had not contested the charges was, said Judge Bowman, reminiscent of the Aquanita case as he pointed out that "no contest" - which was used in that case - was not a plea recognised in this jurisdiction.

On Friday, stewards ordered all horses trained by Weir to be scrapped from the weekend races.

McLean has vowed to fight the charges, telling owners "police charges are pending but this process will take quite some time".

"I look forward to training for many years to come".

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