Group One-winning trainer Jarrod McLean has been suspended by Racing Victoria stewards until police charges including animal cruelty are finalised in court.
McLean fronted RV stewards on Thursday after being charged a day earlier by the Victoria Police Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit.
He is facing multiple counts of engaging in torturing, abusing, overworking and terrifying a thoroughbred racehorse; and causing unreasonable pain or suffering to a thoroughbred racehorse.
McLean is facing 16 charges which also include conduct that corrupts betting outcomes and possessing cocaine.
The charges emanate from raids on properties of disqualified trainer Darren Weir at Ballarat and Warrnambool in January.
RV stewards on Thursday opened three separate inquiries involving McLean, registered stable employee Tyson Kermond and licensed jockey agent and registered stable employee William Hernan.
Each was charged by stewards for refusing to give evidence as requested and have been referred to the Victorian Racing Tribunal.
McLean-trained horses accepted for races at Ballarat on Friday – Wish I Might, Lucy Mac and Pour Vous – have all been scratched on stewards orders.
Like McLean, Kermond was suspended until his police charges are dealt with in court.
The inquiries were held behind closed doors after their legal representative Patrick Wheelahan made a submission to exclude the media from the hearings.
Along with being a trainer in his own right, McLean was Weir’s right hand man in charge of the disgraced trainer’s Warrnambool stable.
Weir, who was disqualified by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in February for four years, was also charged by police on Wednesday and faces nine charges, will be directed to attend a future stewards’ inquiry .
Kermond was charged by police with six animal cruelty offences and one count of conspiracy to defraud Racing Victoria with Hernan facing one charge of corrupt conduct.
All four are due to to appear in Melbourne Magistrates court on October 23.