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Jiggers an "unacceptable practice", says ATA

2 years ago

Australian Trainers Association ceo Andrew Nicholl has condemned the use of 'jiggers', in the wake of Australia's premier trainer Darren Weir being charged by Racing Victoria for possession of an electric or electronic apparatus capable of affecting the performance of a horse.

Weir's Ballarat and Warrnambool stables were raided in the early hours of Wednesday morning, with police recovering an unregistered firearm, plus several seized electric-shock devices (commonly referred to as a jigger) and a small amount of what is believed to be cocaine.

Weir was released without charge, however, on Friday, Racing Victoria stewards issued six charges against him. Stable employees Jarrod McLean and Tyson Kermond were also charged.

The Herald Sun reported on Saturday that one trainer said a jigger "would not hurt them" and that the apparatus is used on horses "which don't try and it’s not cruel".

"The bottom line with the jiggers is that the rules of racing are extremely clear, that jiggers are an unacceptable apparatus to have. Every trainer understands that, so there is no excuse. It's as simple as that," Nicholl said.

"It's an unacceptable practice."

A jigger is a small electronic device that is held to a horse's neck in an attempt to make it run faster and/or try harder.

In 2007, trainer Paul Preusker and jockey Holly McKechnie were disqualified after pleading guilty to possessing and using a jigger.

Weir, McLean and Kermond have been charged under the Australian Rules of Racing.

Weir and McLean are scheduled to face the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board at 2pm on Monday.

A number of star gallopers have already found new homes, as Weir and McLean await their fate.

Boom sprinter Nature Strip and promising two-year-old Yes Yes Yes are now with Chris Waller, while Brave Smash is with Kris Lees. Extra Brut and Land Of Plenty are now in the care of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, while Amphitrite is to be trained by Lindsay Park.

McLean's Group 1 winner Trap For Fools has been transferred to Robert Hickmott.

According to Racing Victoria Executive General Manager Integrity Services, Jamie Stier, horses in Weir's can at this stage be nominated for next Saturday's CF Orr Stakes meeting at Caulfield, however, that could change.

"None of us are clear what the situation will be following that (Monday's show cause hearing)," Stier said.

"Whilst it's not definitely confirmed yet, but indications from the stewards are that that transfer should take place prior to acceptance time (Wednesday morning) if Mr Weir, and I stress, if Mr Weir or Mr McLean are not in a position to be listed as the horse's trainer on raceday.

Stier confirmed Racing Victoria is supporting Weir's 150-odd staff as they too face uncertainty surrounding their employment.

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