Explosive police raid rocks Aussie icon
THE racing world has been rocked by the revelation police have raided the stables of Australia's most successful trainer Darren Weir.
The Herald Sun reported on Wednesday detectives working for Victoria Police's sports integrity unit arrived at Weir's stables following an investigation that has been going on for several months.
Racing Victoria (RV) issued a statement about the matter on Wednesday morning.
"Racing Victoria's Integrity Services team has been conducting an investigation into the activities of licensed persons in the Warrnambool and Ballarat areas," RV Executive General Manager of Integrity Jamie Stier said.
"During the course of our investigation we sought the support of Victoria Police's Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit on the matter, instigating their investigation.
"The Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit this morning executed warrants at properties in Warrnambool and Ballarat where they arrested three licensed persons for questioning. Members of the Racing Victoria Integrity Services team attended licensed stables to assist Victoria Police and to investigate potential offences against the Rules of Racing.
"As the matters are the subject of ongoing investigations by Victoria Police and Racing Victoria we are not at liberty at this time to disclose the identities of the persons arrested nor the details of the investigations.
"Racing Victoria is committed to maintaining the highest integrity standards in our sport and, where appropriate, we will continue to work with Victoria Police on those investigations."
Journalist Leo Schlink reported the news and said on radio Weir was present at one of the properties that were swooped on by police, but claimed the legendary trainer was not surprised by the action.
"I don't think they were taken by surprise in any sense. I think they were well aware something was afoot and it will now go through the processes and see where we land," Schlink told SEN Breakfast.
Schlink said speculation around Weir had "really intensified" recently but added: "People close to him are adamant he has nothing to answer for."
A statement from Victoria Police said officers executed warrants just before 6am. It was also revealed three people were arrested relating to corruption matters, while a firearm was seized.
"Three people have been arrested including a 48-year-old Miners Rest man, a 38-year-old Yangery man and a 26-year-old Warrnambool man," the statement said.
"They will now be interviewed in relation to sporting integrity matters including obtaining financial advantage by deception, engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of event or event contingency, use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes, and attempt to commit indictable offence namely obtain financial advantage by deception.
"A number of items including a firearm and what is believed to be a conducted energy device were also seized from the properties."
Weir is the most successful trainer in Australia. According to the Herald Sun, last season he "prepared a Commonwealth record of 491 winners with combined prizemoney earnings of more than $31 million".
He trained 2015 Melbourne Cup winner Prince of Penzance and has won the past five Victorian metropolitan premierships.