Ben Currie facing fresh charges
The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission issued the following statement on Friday afternoon regarding Toowoomba trainer Ben Currie:
Toowoomba trainer Ben Currie has been issued with seven more alleged breaches of the rules of racing as part of the ongoing investigation into his stable.
It will be alleged that serious animal welfare breaches have occurred including the alleged use of a jigger on two occasions, unauthorised shockwave treatments, failure to report bleeding horses to Stewards and race-day treatment breaches in contravention of the rules of racing.
Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said the investigation that commenced on 7 April last year was always going to be long and protracted and these new allegations stemmed from items seized as part of the ongoing Currie Racing case.
The very serious nature of the animal welfare allegations that have surfaced as a result of this investigation have left us with no choice but to act now in the interests of the Queensland racing industry,” Barnett said.
Mr Currie has been called to a Steward’s Inquiry on Monday 18 February at 10am to show cause why he should not be suspended.
Consideration was given to whether horses trained by Mr Currie that are nominated to run this weekend should be allowed to compete.
We have balanced the impact on owners, connections and jockeys, the need to protect the image of the Queensland Racing Industry, and legal considerations in arriving at the decision to allow nominated horses to compete this weekend.
However, this position will be reviewed after Monday’s Steward’s Inquiry.
Also, none of Mr Currie’s horses nominated to race this weekend are the subject of these latest alleged breaches of the rules which are historic in nature.
Barnett said Friday's allegations were in addition to the 28 alleged rule breaches stewards issued to Currie on July 3 last year and four alleged illegal substance breaches issued on November 28 and December 14 last year.
Mr Currie has continued to train horses in Queensland on a QCAT stay of proceedings.
QRIC Steward’s Inquiries into the earlier matters are currently delayed until the outcome of a Supreme Court hearing next Friday, 22 February.
The Currie Racing investigation has not concluded and further alleged breaches of the rules of racing are likely,” Barnett said.
The latest allegations to come to light occurred between January 2016 and April 2017.
In contravention of AR175(n) Stewards will allege Currie instructed the use of an electric or electronic apparatus (jigger) to deliver an electric shock in an act of cruelty on ‘Cordon Rouge’ prior to racing at Gatton on 30 July 2016.
Stewards will also allege that between 1 March 2016 and 7 March 2016 in breach of AR175(n) Mr Currie allegedly used an electric or electronic apparatus (jigger) on a horse that has been designed to deliver an electric shock.
In contravention of AR64H Stewards allege Mr Currie permitted ‘Dog Days Are Over’ to race at the Sunshine Coast on 16 April 2017 when it had been subjected to shockwave therapy during the seven clear day period before race day.
In a breach of AR53A it will be alleged that Mr Currie failed to notify Stewards when ‘Deep Down’ bled on 31 May 2016 and was then raced by another trainer until June 2017.
It is also alleged in a further breach of AR53A that Mr Currie failed to notify Stewards when ‘Rock Spark’ bled on 6 April 2017, the horse which was sold shortly after the incident continued to race under another trainer.
Stewards will also allege that in a breach of AR175(a) that Mr Currie allegedly made dishonest statements in not disclosing to potential purchasers that Rock Spark bled at Gatton on 6 April 2017.
In an alleged breach of AR178E(1) Mr Currie allegedly caused the administration of boost paste to ‘Honey Toast’ on the day it raced in the Sunshine Coast Cup on 31 January 2016.
Due to the ongoing nature of the Currie Racing investigation the Commission will make no further comment at this stage.