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Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Weir banned for 4 years

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Darren Weir has been disqualified from horse racing for four years after being found guilty of possessing electric-shock devices and for bringing the sport into disrepute.

Weir had 36 Group 1 wins, including the 2015 Melbourne Cup winner Prince of Penzance.

He opted not to contest the charges brought by Victoria state's racing authorities for possession of the so-called jiggers, which were discovered in raids at his stables last week by stewards and officers from the Victoria Police sports integrity unit.

The banned electric-shock devices are used to condition horses to run faster in races.

Judge John Bowman told a Victoria Racing and Disciplinary Board hearing on Wednesday that Weir's winning exploits in Australia's most famous race would be overshadowed by his association with "instruments of cruelty" and "high level cheating."

The 48-year-old Weir holds the Australian training record for most wins in a season, a mark he first broke in 2015-16 with 348 wins.

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Updated February 5, 2019

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