Queensland’s most successful trainer of winners this season, Ben Currie, has been charged with fraud involving allegations he used performance enhancing drugs to win prize money.
It is believed to be the first time since the late Hayden Haitana in 1985 was charged with fraud out of the Fine Cotton substitution case a Queensland trainer has faced the charge when it involved the results of races.
The Toowoomba-based Currie is currently serving seven-and-a-half years disqualification imposed by racing authorities on multiple charges ranging from race day treatments, to positive swabs, to cocaine and improper conduct.
He is seeking internal reviews or appealing those convictions but faces a further 20 charges before racing stewards.
Currie is still the leading trainer on winners in Queensland but several of those winners face disqualification.
Queensland Police released a statement on Tuesday afternoon saying a 28-year-old Toowoomba man had been charged following a 14-month long investigation by officers from the QPS Queensland Racing Crime Squad.
‘It is alleged the offender has engaged in systematic fraudulent behaviour over a period from November 2016 to March 2019 where he has sourced and administered unregulated horse supplements designed to enhance race performance in a manner to circumvent current testing methodology in Queensland thoroughbred racing,” the statement said.
The statement continued as a result, it is further alleged the offender has dishonestly gained a benefit through entitlement to prize money distributed by Racing Queensland for thoroughbred races in Queensland over that time.
It further read the man has been charged with one count of aggravated fraud (Criminal Code) and has been bailed to appear in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court July 15, 2019.
Currie’s barrister, Jim Murdoch, said he was in no position to make any comment.
Spokespeople for the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission and RQ said they were aware of the arrest but could not comment at this stage.