Trainer Darren Weir arrested, gun seized in stable raids
Champion Australian trainer Darren Weir and two other men have been arrested after police seized a gun and a taser during dawn stable raids.
Detectives from the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit executed warrants at properties at Warrnambool and Miners Rest, Ballarat as part of an ongoing investigation.
Police executed warrants just before 6am.
Weir is one of Australia's most successful trainers, training the 2015 Melbourne Cup winner Prince of Penzance.
Detectives from the Ballarat Divisional Response Unit and members of the Australian Federal Police were also involved in this morning's operation.
Three people have been arrested including a 48-year-old Miner's Rest man, a 38-year-old Yangery man and a 26-year-old Warrnambool man.
It is believed the men will now be interviewed in relation to sporting integrity matters.
They include attempt obtain financial advantage by deception, engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of event or event contingency, use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes, and attempt to commit indictable offence namely obtain financial advantage by deception.
The Herald Sun is not suggesting the allegations are true, only that they have been made.
The Herald Sun understands a number of items including a firearm and what is believed to be a "conducted energy device" (a taser) were also seized from the properties.
The investigation remains ongoing and has also been assisted by Racing Victoria.
Racing Victoria executive general manager Integrity, Jamie Stier, said in a statement following the raids: "Racing Victoria's Integrity Services team has been conducting an investigation into the activities of licensed persons in the Warrnambool and Ballarat areas.
"During the course of our investigation we sought the support of Victoria Police's Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit on the matter, instigating their investigation.
"The Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit this morning executed warrants at properties in Warrnambool and Ballarat where they arrested three licensed persons for questioning.
"Members of the Racing Victoria Integrity Services team attended licensed stables to assist Victoria Police and to investigate potential offences against the Rules of Racing.
"Racing Victoria is committed to maintaining the highest integrity standards in our sport and, where appropriate, we will continue to work with Victoria Police on those investigations."
Allegations at the centre of the inquiry have been under investigation for months.
There have been persistent suggestions video from inside a stable has been a key element of their investigation.
The Herald Sun has chosen not to report on the inquiry because of police concerns the probe might be impacted.
Weir, who has training facilities at Maldon, Ballarat and Warrnambool, is Australia's most successful trainer.
He last season prepared a Commonwealth record of 491 winners with combined prizemoney earnings of more than $31 million.
Previously based in Stawell, Weir has won the past five Victorian metropolitan premierships since creating "Weir-Town" in Ballarat.
His meteoric rise has been repeatedly questioned by some in racing, and applauded by others.
He leads Winx's trainer Chris Waller by almost 90 wins in this season's national trainer's premiership.
Weir, 48, started out working for other stables, learning his trade as a farrier, strapper and track rider.
He is now one of the largest employers in racing and has hundreds of horses on his books.
Victoria police has in recent years beefed up its commitment to fighting sports corruption.
The sports integrity unit has run investigations in harness racing, tennis and cricket.