Horse racing: Top Australian trainer and duo claim trial to cheating and animal cruelty charges

SYDNEY (AFP) - Melbourne Cup-winning Australian trainer Darren Weir was committed to stand trial on Monday (Oct 19) on animal cruelty and conspiracy to defraud charges stemming from the 2018 spring racing carnival.

A magistrate ruled that there was enough evidence for a jury to decide whether Weir, his former assistant Jarrod McLean and stable hand Tyson Kermond conspired to cheat and deceive racing stewards in Victoria state.

They are accused of horse torture, including the alleged use of electronic shock devices known as "jiggers" on three thoroughbreds to enhance their performance in the lead-up to the 2018 season.

All three pleaded not guilty via video link at the Ballarat Magistrates Court, with another hearing scheduled for Nov 19.

Weir trained the New Zealand thoroughbred Prince of Penzance, which was ridden to victory at the 2015 Melbourne Cup by the first female jockey to win the race, Michelle Payne.

He was banned from the sport in Victoria last year after dramatic police raids on his stables.

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