Unfortunately the negative publicity of Weir the leading trainer by winners in Australia last racing year will affect most things short term before we all move on.
The question again is why Victoria again? Are all the other states very clean? Not sure and we may never found out.
Peter Moody's comments regarding suspensions below sums up the attitude of some people in the racing industry and that is why non race goers will find it hard to fathom in relation to de-registration of individuals in other industries.
Canberra Times article today providing a summary below. It is more balanced than some articles I have seen from both points of view regarding Weir as it also highlights his influence in the region and his character in some ways.
Where does the shadow of the Weir jiggers scandal end?
By Michael Lynch and Peter Ryan
February 9, 2019 — 12.15am
The moment when police discovered four electrical ''jiggers'' in the master bedroom above the Ballarat stable complex where Darren Weir lived was the moment one of the most romantic tales in Australian racing history came crashing to the turf. Police are preparing a brief of evidence against the disgraced trainer for the Office of Public Prosecutions and the potential for criminal charges - possibly involving betting and gaming offences as well as those of animal cruelty - reflect the magnitude of the probe. However that investigation unfolds, Weir's demise and four-year ban imposed by racing authorities has not only rocked racing here, but worldwide.
Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Darren Weir has been disqualified from racing for four years, after a disciplinary hearing was told electric-shock 'jiggers' were found in his home.
Weir, 48, is banned from any involvement in racing until at least 2023 after he was sensationally disqualified from training on Wednesday and opted not to contest the charges laid against him under the rules of racing.
Weir moved quickly to divest himself of his major racing investments, selling his Ballarat complex to fellow trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, who bought his Forest Lodge stables on Thursday. The duo's prompt action means they will rapidly expand their business - and save the jobs of many of the 150 staff Weir employed in his burgeoning empire.
Weir will be hoping that his four-year disqualification will be where the sanctions end, so he can quickly begin to rebuild his life after the headlines fade.
But that will not be his decision alone. Even if there is no further fallout from the police investigation, Racing Victoria CEO Giles Thompson says that regaining his licence when the ban is served will not be a foregone conclusion. Weir will again have to appear before the stewards to show cause as to why he should be allowed to train horses again.
And Weir is expected to want to resume his career. Some thought an enforced break for a man who lived, slept and breathed his occupation might be beneficial.
''This could be a good thing for him in a weird way, as it will make him slow down, stop and reflect,'' was the view of one friend.
He will have to satisfy authorities that he has learned his lesson, and his lack of publicly expressed remorse at the RAD Board hearing was noted.
However, he said nothing at the request of his lawyer, Patrick Wheelahan - most likely a legal tactic to ensure that he did not make any remarks or comment that could be regarded as self-incriminating in the event of further charges.
Fellow champion trainer Peter Moody, of Black Caviar fame, was himself banned for six months, and knows what Weir is going through. Moody has yet to return to training, having walked away from the sport in 2016 after being found to have unintentionally administered a horse with a product that produced excessive cobalt levels. Moody has chosen to pursue a career in bloodstock, the media and with corporate bookmaker Ladbrokes instead of returning to training.
"I don't condone what he may or may not have done, but he is a human and he deserves respect. He has a family," said Moody.
"I respect his decision not to defend himself, which I don't believe is an admission of guilt. I know what it costs to fight a case, which I didn't believe I should have to have fought."
Moody pointed out that several of the sport's past masters, including T.J. Smith, Bart Cummings and Lee Freedman, had fallen foul of stewards and spent time on the sidelines. None, though, faced a ban nearly as long as Weir's. "Throughout history some of the greatest trainers in the game have done time for various things. Do we look back through history and think differently of them?" he asked.
"I have great respect for what he's done and what he's gone through ... I don't think it [the events of the past week] should detract from what he has achieved."
And Weir achieved an extraordinary amount - including a record number of winners last year. His fall from grace has been dramatic.
The drama involving a man regarded as one of the most talented horsemen this country has produced began many months ago.
By August last year, stewards under the guidance of Victoria's Racing Integrity Unit, run by vastly experienced racing official Jamie Stier, believed there was substance to the rumours which had been sweeping the industry. Those rumours implied that the champion trainer's success might be down to more than just his freakish ability to train horses.
A series of tip-offs had alerted them to incidents that suggested a pattern , creating a ''hot spot'' around the champion trainer's Ballarat and Warrnambool stables.
One person close to the drama said it wasn't a single smoking gun, but a series of events or circumstances that alerted the integrity unit's data analysts to recommend further investigation.
Racing authorities approached Victoria Police in August - while the attention of the sporting world was focused on footy rather than the racetrack - to seek their help. Police powers of surveillance - including phone tapping - are far more wide-ranging than those open to racing's integrity officers.
The six-month investigation by the force's relatively new Sporting Integrity Unit was kept secret from Weir, his staff and the racing industry - including punters, who celebrated the run of success with the catchphrase "back Weir, drink beer".
The Sporting Integrity Unit, detectives from Ballarat’s Divisional Response Unit and the Australian Federal Police (who were providing logistical support) were ready to pounce after Weir returned from the yearling sales in New Zealand late in January. He had been at the Karaka auctions where he, along with syndicate owners and business partners, splurged some $2 million on 16 yearlings which were to form the next wave of Weir winners.
Police knew where to look. When they swooped on his Forest Lodges Stables on Wednesday, January 30, as the sun came up in Ballarat, they discovered jiggers (electrical devices which can administer a shock to a horse to improve its performance) in the bedroom as well as an unregistered gun.
It is the possession of the jiggers which has shaken Weir's standing so much in the court of public opinion, with issues of animal welfare regarded so seriously. A jigger is used on a horse to improve its acceleration and performance. Typically it is administered during exercise - either in a racetrack gallop or on a treadmill - in conjunction with another action by the rider, perhaps a slap down the neck with a hand or the butt of a whip and a roar in the ears. The horse comes to associate the rider's action with the pain from the electrical charge and, as flight animals, the adrenalin kicks in and the horse will increase its effort and run faster.
Jockeys cannot carry jiggers in a race, but they can simulate the action carried out in training. In multimillion-dollar races which can be decided by centimetres, that can make all the difference.
When police arrived at Ballarat in late January they not only checked the living quarters but also the always immaculate stables – kept spotless to impress visitors - and floats as shocked staff watched. Weir was subsequently arrested, along with his Warrnambool stable foreman Jarrod McLean and Tyson Kermond, a stable employee and strapper of one of Weir's best known gallopers, the multiple group 1 winner Black Heart Bart.
Weir was questioned through the day before he, McLean and Kermond were released without charge. Police are continuing their inquiries. The police concentrated their questioning on issues related to betting and the outcomes of races. They also showed Weir still images they had gained through a surveillance camera at his stables.
The shock arrest puts all of Weir's achievements under a cloud, none more so than the history-making 2015 Melbourne Cup win of Michelle Payne aboard rank outsider Prince of Penzance. That triumph made household names of Weir, Payne and strapper Stevie Payne, the brother of the winning jockey.
However, the image that the public now has of Weir is that of a man prepared to cheat and use every means, legal or illegal, to obtain victory.
Weir's rags-to-riches story had seemed one of the most feel-good tales in Australian sport. The man is a workaholic. Last year, at the end of his most successful season, he had been expected to take a lengthy break of three to four weeks. He returned to work after just five days. He also knew how to celebrate the increasingly frequent big race wins that came his way. Legendary are the tales of the Weir crew – owners, friends and staff – partying deep into the night in various Ballarat hostelries and clubs after a long day at trackwork in the morning and the races in the afternoon.
''He was a great horseman and a knockabout bloke. He could train a winner, but he could also celebrate and have a drink. He was the last to leave the pub, he was a machine,'' said rival trainer Manny Gelagotis.But Weir would always be back in harness early the following day.It was that dedication that saw him build his stable to the point where he trained more than 600 horses and became the linchpin of a Ballarat racing sector which contributed $59 million to the local economy.
He has saddled a staggering 3722 winners, 36 of them in group 1 races, the highest level of competition. Since the year 2000, his horses had earned nearly $150 million in prize money.He has won not just the Melbourne Cup, but Derbies and major handicaps all over the country. In the 2012-13 season he had a total of 183 winners, the majority in country areas. By the 2017-18 season his score had mushroomed to 490 winners from a staggering 3179 runners. That was more than 100 more than Chris Waller, the man who prepares the champion Winx.
Year after year Weir was setting, and then breaking, metropolitan and Commonwealth training records, and it seemed certain he would become the first man to send out 500 winners in a season. He saddled his last runners in the middle of last week, and he had already prepared 266 winners in the first six months of the year, so he was well on course.
His domination is so great that his tally of metropolitan winners this season stands at 93 - 60 more than his nearest pursuer. And it looks inevitable that he will still win this year's title without having a runner for more than half a season. For all of that success, and despite the public bonhomie, friends claim Weir is a shy and diffident figure, happier dealing with horses and animals than people.
Dr Prabhash Goel, horse owner and CEO of Ananda Aged Care, declared his disappointment at the turn of events.
''I am absolutely shocked. He is a simple country man. He doesn't watch a race mingling with the committee. He watches like a normal person in the mounting yard. I like watching the races with him. He has got no flair. He is a very simple man."
Lachlan McKenzie, the Ballarat Turf Club CEO, said Weir's fall had to be seen in context as his role in building the racing industry in the region was significant.
"No one condones breaking of the rules but it's important that it not be seen in isolation from the benefit he has brought to racing in Ballarat and the help he has given to pre-trainers, stable staff and ... a number of people who work for him who would otherwise not find employment."
Weir's recreations outside work were few, save for a keen interest in the Carlton Football Club.
A committed player himself in the Wimmera as a young man, the pressures of work meant he could rarely watch the Blues live, but he was always keen to follow their progress.
Weir was acutely conscious of his role within the racing family. VRC chair Amanda Elliott says he rarely ever refused a request from Racing Victoria or the various raceclubs to come up to the city to appear at a promotional lunch or event.
Still, he had been on the stewards’ radar ever since he had begun his march to the top. Weir had plenty of form with stewards stretching right back to 2001, when he barely had any city runners, never mind winners.
Indiscretions ranged from giving false evidence in an inquiry, possession of apparatus which could have been used for stomach tubing, stomach tubing itself, breaching racing's bicarb rules and providing false information to stewards, amongst other things. Stomach tubing involves administering a tube through a horse's nose and into the stomach, to introduce liquid that mops up lactic acid and delays fatigue. In a sport like racing, where vast sums can be won and lost in a matter of minutes through betting and a colt can increase his value by millions for winning a big race, rumours, scuttlebutt and innuendo always abound.
And Weir's meteoric rise through the ranks had certainly attracted attention. He was the outrider, the man who had reached the pinnacle of his profession from humble beginnings: and by any standards his success was startling.
From the tiny town of Berriwillock, Weir had no bluechip, cased-up backers. There were no horses owned by the likes of Coolmore or Godolphin for him, no mega-rich businessmen from Collins Street or Pitt Street beating a path to his door. At least not initially. He prided himself on the loyalty of his staff and his loyalty and commitment to old friends and those who supported him when he had nothing. This week, even as the walls closed in around him, he found time to visit an employee who had been rushed to hospital in the days after the raid and spend time at his bedside – an act friends have said was far from unusual.
But his staggering success quickly made him a ‘'person of interest''. And for all his talents, it does now seem something more sinister was also at play. The ongoing police investigation means this race is likely far from the finish line.