One week was all it took. Darren Weir’s racing stables were raided last Wednesday. This Wednesday he handed in his training license accepting a four-year ban for the possession of jiggers and bringing racing into disrepute. One of Australia’s highest profile trainers effectively lost to a horse racing scandal potentially forever.
The enormity of it all hit suddenly, yet so many questions still remain. The biggest one for me is why? Darren Weir was pretty much owning this sport in Victoria. The story was a fairy tale. A bloke from the bush who loved a beer at the pub had reached the summit. He was beating the rich and famous in a sport widely referred to as the Sport Of Kings. The story appears to now be tainted and beyond recovery.
There have been many quick to lay the boot in as is society’s way in these modern times. Who can be the most outraged and get the most attention for their outrage? The man has been caught with jiggers, so he is clearly cheating. I am not defending Darren Weir in any way. He hasn’t offered an explanation for the discovery of jiggers on his property. Let alone why he was keeping them hidden in his bedroom, so the penalty is just. I am not left with a feeling of outrage though. The feeling is more disappointment and confusion.
Jiggers. Horse racing scandal? So many questions unanswered.
I come back to the question of why? I want to know was it Darren Weir’s training ability that got Humidor so close to beating Winx in a Cox Plate a week after failing in a Caulfield Cup? I want to know was it Weir’s brilliant placement of horses that allowed him to dominate the great May Warrnambool Carnival year after year? I also want to know if it was the jiggers? If it was the jiggers, why did he feel he needed the jiggers? So many questions.
How long has he been using these jiggers? Is it something that he has used consistently as he rose through the ranks or is it something that has come about later as his fame and the pressure that comes with that fame has risen? More questions.
Did the Racing Twitter universe know something?
Racing Twitter came up with its own hashtag – #BackedTheWrongWeir when one of Darren Weir’s lesser fancied runners would beat a more favoured runner. That was always a light-hearted reference, it now carries more sinister connotations. Was it a plan for Weir to have the horse at better odds win as part of this? So many more questions.
It is expected that there is plenty more to play out in this saga. There is an ongoing police investigation and the vibe coming out of comments made today is that more evidence will come to light around the specifics of how and when these practices were used.
Until then many people will run with their own conspiracy theories. I won’t as I just don’t know. A lot of it doesn’t make sense. There were many that seemed to have knowledge of the stables being raided on Wednesday morning prior to it happening. I for example got a heads-up Saturday night that it would be happening. How does Darren Weir then get caught with jiggers in his bedroom? Surely if so, many others knew it was happening, he did as well? More questions.
Another horse racing scandal leaving punters disappointed
Ultimately though this is a disappointing time for the sport of horse racing – again. Darren Weir was the trainer you could have a beer with at the pub and not feel out of place. He was that type of guy and the fact that he was still that guy while becoming one of the biggest faces in the game made him an extremely likeable commodity for most.
No one is bigger than the game though and Darren Weir and his supporters and everyone in racing have found that out in the last seven days. The end has come quickly. A trainer who was perhaps on the verge of going down and being spoken about as one of the greatest will now drift away out of sight for four years. It is leaving many of us asking – why?