By: AAP/ Mark Oberhardt
Queensland’s leading trainer Ben Currie will lodge an application for a stay on a suspension of his licence after he was charged with 31 breaches of the racing rules.
Toowoomba-based Currie, who leads the state’s trainer standings with 130 wins, was called to front a reconvened stewards’ inquiry in Brisbane on Monday.
After a three-hour hearing at Queensland Racing Integrity Commission headquarters, Currie was charged with 31 breaches of racing rules dating back two years and suspended pending completion of the inquiry.
Outside the hearing Currie said he already pleaded not guilty and would defend all charges.
“My lawyers will apply for an urgent stay of the suspension before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal on Tuesday,” he said.
Currie has about 80 horses in his stable, with many entered for races in the next week.
QRIC commissioner Ross Barnett said because of the serious nature of the charges, stewards had ordered that any nomination or acceptance under Currie’s name would be rejected until the inquiry concluded.
“Subsequently he will be allowed to exercise the horses listed in his stable only. The inquiry has been adjourned to a date to be fixed,” Barnett said.
Nature of the charges
Barnett said there were charges of race-day treatment without permission.
“Currie as the trainer is charged with allegedly causing the administration of a medication to Gully Command, Publishing Power, Hang, With a Promise and Givus a Cuddle on March 24, the same day they raced at Doomben and Gatton.
“For these alleged actions Currie also faces one charge of improper practice.”
Barnett added Currie faced a further seven charges that as the trainer he allegedly caused the administration of a medication to Givus A Cuddle, Gully Command, Hang, Publishing Power, Ruettiger, With a Promise and Boomwaa on April 7, the day they were engaged to race at Toowoomba.
Currie is also charged with improper practice for those alleged offences.
“A further race day administration charge relates to causing horses in his care to be administered medication on February 11, 2017, the same day they raced at Toowoomba, and for this incident Mr Currie was also charged with improper practice,” Barnett said.
Currie is also charged that as the trainer of Jomar Saga he allegedly caused the administration of an alkalinising agent within the prevented period before the horse competed at Dalby on September 3, 2016.
Further charges include the administration of shockwave therapy within seven clear days of the horses competing at Dalby on April 15 last year.
Four people have already been disqualified or suspended as a result of an inquiry opened by QRIC stewards after allegations were made by integrity officers about activities at Currie’s stables on April 7.
Currie’s father and foreman Mark Currie has been disqualified for two years on 16 charges arising out of the inquiry into April 7 activities and allegations about other horses on March 24.
The trainer’s employees Greg Britnall (18 months disqualification), Cameron Schwenke (three months disqualification), and Silde Canda (three months suspension) have all been banned as result of the inquiry.