A DISGRACED racehorse trainer has been fined £20,000 after harrowing video footage showed him using a Taser-like shocking device on three horses.
Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Darren Weir pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges on three runners in the build-up to the 2018 race.
EPAFormer Melbourne Cup winner Weir has been fined £20,000 for his abhorrent use of an electrical shocking device on three horses he trained[/caption]
Weir, who won the 2015 ‘race that stops a nation’ with 100-1 Prince Of Penzance, was shown using a jigger on horses on a treadmill.
His assistant trainer Jarrod McLean – also fined £20,000 – was shown hitting runners with a piece of black piping in the awful surveillance footage.
Another worker at the yard, Tyson Kermond, was also shown on tape and told to make a £5,500 donation to the RSPCA.
One of the horses, Red Cardinal, went onto finish last in the Melbourne Cup a week later at odds of 30-1.
Weir’s charges were reworded from ‘torture’ as part of a plea deal which saw all three leave court without any convictions.
Footage capturing the horrific offences was played at Warrnambool magistrates court in Australia on Wednesday.
Most read in Horse Racing
Weir’s barrister Ian Hill said his client had effectively become a recluse ‘because of the shame and embarrassment he felt’.
He claimed Weir, 52, had felt under enormous pressure for his horses to win.
Magistrate Franz Holzer said the men should have known better and should be shamed for their abhorrent actions.
He said: “They’ll be shunned within the racing and animal fraternity for a range of probably very proper reasons.
“People will talk and have talked – that’s a punishment each of these men will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”
He added the horses suffered no long-term injuries, only short-term pain.
Weir, who has won more than £81.3million on the track over the past 20 years, got a four-year ban in 2019 after jiggers were found at his yard.
That suspension was due to end next February but now officials will reconsider in light of the latest video evidence.
A Racing Victoria statement said: “Racing Victoria (RV) notes the penalty decision handed down at the Warrnambool Magistrates Court in relation to criminal charges issued by Victoria Police against Mr Weir, Mr McLean and Mr Kermond.
“RV Stewards are aware of further evidence presented during today’s mention which they will now consider.
“With these developments currently under consideration, no further comments on the matter will be made at this time.”
And in September last year another jockey was given a ten-year ban for the same offence.