Day At The Track

Darren Weeks disqualified

10:58 PM 18 Oct 2016 NZDT
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Darren Weeks was disqualified for a period of 15 months
Darren Weeks was disqualified for a period of 15 months

Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards today concluded an inquiry which was opened on 12 October 2015 into the circumstances surrounding the analysts’ findings in respect to a post race urine sample taken from Sheza Shadow following its winning harness racing performance in Race 4 at Redcliffe on 24 July 2015. This inquiry had been further adjourned to allow legal requests to be processed and further investigations on behalf of Mr Weeks to be completed.

The Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (RSC) reported a level of Cobalt in the sample in excess of the threshold as prescribed by the Australian Harness Racing Rules.

On 29 September 2016, Stewards issued a charge against Mr Weeks as follows:

Rule 190(1)

           “A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances”

The particulars of the charge being that Mr Weeks presented Sheza Shadow to race in Race 4 at Redcliffe on 24 July 2015 when a sample taken from that filly was found, upon analysis, to contain the prohibited substance Cobalt above the prescribed threshold.

Today Mr Weeks provided written submissions in defence of the charge laid against him.

After due consideration Stewards were of the view that the charge could be sustained as issued and formally found Mr Weeks guilty.

When assessing the matter of penalty Stewards gave consideration to the following:

The serious nature of the substance concerned and the levels of Cobalt recorded (366 Ug/l and 413Ug/l);

Mr Weeks’ licence history and unblemished record under this rule;

Mr Weeks’ personal and financial situation;

The particular circumstances of the case and submissions tendered by Mr Weeks;

The need for a penalty to serve as a deterrent to illustrate that drug free racing is of paramount importance to the integrity of harness racing;

Penalty precedents.

Mr Weeks was disqualified for a period of 15 months effective immediately.

Acting under Australian Harness Racing Rule 195 Sheza Shadow was disqualified from its win in Race 4 at Redcliffe on 24 July 2015, and all other placegetters were amended accordingly.

Mr Weeks was advised of his rights to internal review.

Stewards’ Report -  Darren Weeks

Date - 17 October 2016

Panel - D Farquharson, A Reardon, K Wolsey

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