MELBOURNE Cup winning trainer Darren Weir has been charged by Victoria Police over alleged animal cruelty and conspiracy offences.
Weir, who hails from Berriwillock, has been charged with conspiracy to defraud Racing Victoria, engaging in the torturing, abusing, overworking and terrifying of a thoroughbred race horse, and causing unreasonable pain or suffering to a thoroughbred race horse.
Weir and three other people also charged on Wednesday will face a hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on October 23.
Weir has been under investigation by police since three electronic jiggers — devices used to electronically shock horses — were found in a bedroom of his Ballarat home on January 30 this year.
Weir was later disqualified for four years by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board after pleading no contest to four charges, three of them in relation to the possession of the electronic apparatus on his licensed premises and the other for conduct prejudicial to the image of racing.
Racing Victoria (RV) chief executive Giles Thompson said these were "serious charges".
"...And the nature of the alleged conduct described within the charges is distressing to all within the racing industry, as well as the general community," he said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Upon the issuing of charges today, our stewards have immediately opened inquiries and ordered three persons to attend tomorrow afternoon to answer questions in relation to the charges. Those inquiries will dictate our next steps.
"The core responsibility of Racing Victoria is to protect the integrity of the sport and to enforce the Australian Rules of Racing, ensuring both a level playing field for all and the health and welfare of horses competing in Victorian races. This is a responsibility that we take very seriously."