Welcome to another week of The Last Stride.
The show cause hearing for Ben Currie has come and gone and once again he was granted a stay of proceedings enabling him to continue to train after taking his case to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal on Thursday afternoon.
Currie was issued seven new charges last Friday by Queensland Racing Integrity Commission stewards.
QRIC stewards alleged that serious animal welfare breaches occurred including the alleged use of a jigger on two occasions, unauthorised shockwave treatments, failure to report bleeding horses to stewards and race-day treatment breaches in contravention of the rules of racing.
Stewards arranged a show-cause hearing last Monday for Currie to give reason why he should be allowed to continue training.
The Toowoomba-based trainer was unsuccessful at the hearing with QRIC stewards determining that all horses trained, owned, part-owned or leased by Currie shall not participate in any race or trial.
Currie immediately wrote to his owners indicating he would vigorously defend himself against 'slanderous claims' that he compromised the welfare of his horses.
Currie went to QCAT seeking a stay of proceedings pending an internal review by QCAT member Robert Olding.
Olding allowed the stay, up to five business days after the result of his internal review, which has an unspecified time frame.
Currie's legal representative, Jim Murdoch QC, said the stand down orders imposed on his client were 'draconian' and aimed at destroying his business.
QRIC released the following statement after the QCAT decision was handed down:
"Following a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) hearing today, Toowoomba Trainer Ben Currie has been granted a stay of proceedings until five days after the handing down of an Internal Review in relation to seven alleged breaches of the rules of racing.
"The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) has 20 business days from the date of the original decision to provide the findings of an internal review.
"Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation the Commission will make no further comment at this stage."
Currie already faces 28 charges arising from a raid on his Toowoomba stables in April last year and four other unrelated positive swab charges.
What this means, in 4 weeks time we go back to QCAT after the Internal Review for Ben Currie to seek another stay.
The system is so floored it's embarrassing for all in racing in this State.
The Queensland Government brought this platform in after the greyhound live baiting scandal as a result of a Four Corners program.
To Ben Currie's credit, he's simply exploiting the system to keep training and if anyone of us were in his position we may do the same, it's business.
This drawn out saga is disgraceful and should have been put to bed 8 months ago.
It has created a lot of hate within in the industry which has come about because of the length of time this matter is taking. The more winners the Currie stable get with the charges still to be heard some 10 months later, the perception being is they are cheating, hence the ill feelings and anger that comes from within participants of the industry.
This is unfair to all but in particular everyone inside the Currie stable as they are on the receiving end of the angst for simply playing by the platform given to the industry through the Macsporran Report.
We all point the finger at the QRIC, but it's not the people of the QRIC's fault either. They are using the formula given to them that they must adhere to compliments again of the Macsporran Report.
If anyone should be held accountable it's the Minister For Racing and this Labour State Government.
The Last Stride