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Currie | Was this unexpected?
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Currie | Was this unexpected?
When are assumptions deemed credible? When can the presumption of innocence be negated with common sense? Why, amidst overwhelming rumour and innuendo, has there been lack of action?
On the back of the recent Weir charges, the racing industry has been tarred with yet another integrity breach. Queensland trainer, Ben Currie, is facing a heavy ban after being hit with seven charges relating to allegations of ‘serious animal cruelty’, including jigger use.
But this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this leading trainer in the spotlight. Mr. Currie is already facing 32 rule breach allegations (inc four positive swabs) and his recent successes as a trainer in Queensland have continually had a muddy aura about them.
Mr. Currie has been training on a stay of proceedings granted at QCAT after QRIC stood him down in June last year. He has been the focus of an ongoing investigation since April 18’.
The fresh allegations include:
-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.
“Because of the serious animal welfare issues around these charges, we need to take immediate action to ensure the integrity of racing,” Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said.
Consideration was given to scratching Currie trained horses on Saturday, but it was deemed to allow them to run, to not penalise owners and jockeys, given the timing of when the charges were laid.
This was not immediate action. This action was contradictory to the voice. To an industry with an already negative stigma, this was a weak move. Everything under rulings should have been done to immediately strip Mr. Currie from the right to train or have any contribution until charges have been laid.
Allegations have substance and where there is smoke, there is fire. There is no grey area here. With the fresh allegations stemming from an investigation commencing April 18’, the necessary action is obvious.
This not only relates to Weir and Currie, but trainers nationwide. The economy of racing relies on external participants. The punter, the owner, the enthusiast, the fan. There should be no middle ground. Integrity is key and blemishes on the industry should be dealt with swiftly, harshly and with authority.
In my opinion, you lose your rights when you abuse the rights of others. Those others being us.
Legal representatives for Currie asked to postpone the show-cause hearing scheduled today but stewards have advised there are no plans to delay and will commence at 10am.
Author: Adam Curkpatrick