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By Graham Potter | Sunday, February 10, 2019

Graham Potter writes a weekly column for the Sunshine Coast daily. Due to demand from those having trouble accessing the paper these columns are now also published on HRO courtesy of the Sunshine Coast daily.

It was difficult at first to find anything positive in the mass cross section of stories which detailed champion trainer Darren Weir’s swift fall from grace but, even though the dust has yet to settle on this sorry episode in racing’s history, two pertinent points do come to mind.

The immediate drama … from the raid on Weir’s premises, to the arrest of three men including Weir, to their questioning, to the issuing of Show Cause Notices, to the Show Cause hearing taking place and a verdict being reached, to the matter being moved on to the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board where Weir’s four-year disqualification was rubber stamped … took only eight days to finalise (which included a weekend).

It was racing’s judiciary on turbo blast.

Seldom, if ever, has any investigation been as fast moving as this Wednesday to Wednesday push for resolution.

Some would say it had to be that way given the dire and immediate need for racing to apply damage control and, yes, Weir’s decision not to contest the charges and to agree to make himself available, instead of trying to delay hearings, contributed to Racing Victoria being able to meet the goals of a hectic, fast formulated schedule … but the point is they did it … in only eight days!

The Weir matter might not end here as a police investigation is still ongoing, but Racing Victoria has to be commended on their actions in dealing with the charges that were laid in such a concentrated manner. Anybody would prefer the option of swift justice, which came into play here, compared to the long drawn out alternative.

Until now, in general, that has not been the norm in racing … to racing’s detriment.

Perhaps a tipping point has been reached.

Certainly, the hope is that a ‘let’s get it done, whatever it takes’ mindset will carry over into future cases and not just stop at the Weir door.


The second pertinent point is that the true power of any penalty lies in it being a serious deterrent to other would-be offenders.

Weir’s four-year disqualification ticks that box.

Sure, there are those who believe Weir deserved a harsher sentence but it must be remembered that the RAD Board was only dealing with the charges before them at the time. With the currently an on-going police investigation the matter could be far from over.

So, four years is a significant penalty. It takes away the man’s livelihood, his reputation. It puts a cloud over his past achievements … and there is so much more downside for Weir that we, who are not in Weir’s position, probably could not even begin to contemplate.

At this moment, who could possibly be stupid enough to cross the line and risk joining Weir in exile from their profession.

Swift action. Severe penalties for the guilty.

Everybody, but those who offend, will agree it has a certain ring to it.

If racing can make that the new standard moving forward the industry will be all the better for it.

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