Tumut trainer Kerry Weir will be hoping to put a difficult couple of weeks behind him when he saddles up Bondo in this year’s Tumut Cup on Saturday.
By virtue solely of his last name, the local horseman has been inadvertently targeted with vitriolic hate messages as a result of the scandal confronting disgraced Melbourne trainer, Darren Weir, who was recently rubbed out for four years by Victorian stewards after a disciplinary hearing was told electric-shock jiggers were found in his bedroom.
For the record, Kerry Weir has no association with Darren Weir – they’re not related and have had no dealings within the racing industry.
“I’ve never met the bloke, never spoken to him in my life,” Kerry said from his stables in Tumut yesterday.
The two Weirs are both horse racing trainers and share a last name, and that’s been enough of a link for Kerry to cop a steady stream of online and phone hate messages from people mistaking his operation for Darren Weir’s.
The Tumut Weir stables have been forced to take down their web page and have removed their social media presence as well.
“I don’t answer my mobile phone now unless I know the number,” Kerry said.
“Some of it is pretty disgusting stuff, which you just can’t repeat, even in a pub.
“It’s from people who clearly have no idea.”
A selection of the hate-filled emails and other material have been handed over to stewards.
Kerry said that Darren Weir’s actions had no place in racing, at any level.
“It’s a pretty low act, if he did what they said,” Kerry said. “Everyone knew something was up – you don’t go from nothing to breaking records across the industry.”
A five-time Melbourne premiership winner, Darren Weir trained Prince Of Penzance to win the 2015 Melbourne Cup in a famous victory for jockey Michelle Payne.
Jiggers are used in training to give horses a shock and the action is simulated on race day.
Darren Weir’s stables at Ballarat and Warrnambool were raided in a joint operation by RV stewards and officers from Victoria Police’s sport integrity unit.
For his part, Kerry is looking forward to focusing on his home-town cup race this Saturday, where he’ll have locally-owned Bondo in the main event.
The Groves galloper has placed second and third in the race in previous years.
“Hopefully he can go one better this Saturday,” Kerry said.