DEFIED THE ODDS: Michelle Payne on Prince Of Penzance.
DEFIED THE ODDS: Michelle Payne on Prince Of Penzance. Getty Images

Opinion: Weir's suspension leaves stain on Bundy's Cup win

OPINION: Rightly or wrongly, there will always be an asterisk next to Prince Of Penzance's win in the 2015 Melbourne Cup after the suspension of Darren Weir.

Weir was handed a four-year ban yesterday by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board after being found guilty of three charges of possessing jiggers.

Jiggers are illegal devices used to shock horses to train them to run faster.

The devices were found when Victoria Police raided his stables and his home last week following a two-year joint investigation with Racing Victoria.

But while the Cup win happened outside the timeline of the charges against Weir, the question remains as to whether the win in the Melbourne Cup was impacted by cheating.

Winning jockey Michelle Payne said she saw nothing and owners of the horse haven't publicly spoken about it but there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing of their part.

Others in the racing industry have called for an investigation - and at the minimum that should happen.

Before his Cup win, Weir had been fined or penalised over incidents 11 times. Some were minor and some were significant enough to result in the stripping of wins.

The Cup win might have been completely legal, but let's not forget Prince Of Penzance was 101-1 with the bookies and that his last win before the Cup was in October 2014.

For peace of mind at least, for the trainers, fans and jockeys, it needs to be looked at.

The recent ball-tampering scandal in Australia should serve as a lesson to racing.

The Ashes victory in 2017 and other wins by the Australian cricket team were immediately questioned after Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were suspended for tampering with the ball in South Africa.

Those questions remain and I believe we still haven't got the full story.

Racing can't let that happen.

The sport already attracts enough criticism in other areas and this ordeal has set it back.

I covered Prince Of Penzance's win in 2015 and spoke to the Dalton family after the horse won.

The Daltons owned the gelding, with Bundaberg's Bruce Dalton one of the co-owners.

There was joy from everyone in Bundy for the horse and the connections.

It would be a shame if that win comes under a speculation cloud.

But until it is fully investigated, I and others will ask questions. If they don't, racing will lose all credibility it still has.



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