Toowoomba trainer grilled over 'suspicious activity'

TRAINER Ben Currie's runners were allowed to take their places in races at Toowoomba, despite an inquiry being opened into what QRIC officials have described as "suspicious activity" at his stables on Saturday morning.

Currie has described the intense focus on his stables this week as "a witch hunt" and expects to be cleared of any wrongdoing.

Stewards interviewed Currie and his father Mark before Saturday's Toowoomba Weetwood meeting after QRIC's Integrity Investigations Team (ITT) observed "a stable employee acting suspiciously in the vicinity of a number of thoroughbred racehorses this morning".

Trainer Ben Currie. Picture: Grant Peters, Trackside Photography
Trainer Ben Currie. Picture: Grant Peters, Trackside Photography

"IIT officers have interviewed the employee and trainers Mark Currie and Ben Currie about their observations and have also seized some items from the stable including CCTV equipment which they believe will assist them in their enquiries," Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said.

Vets have also taken saliva, urine and blood samples from seven horses.

"At this time there is not sufficient evidence to warrant the disqualification of the runners from racing at Toowoomba today, but if subsequent enquiries determine there has been the administration of race-day treatment that contravenes the rules of racing, these horses may be subsequently disqualified," Barnett said.

"This matter will be vigorously pursued to establish the facts of todays' alleged incident."