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Trainer Ciaron Maher faces a penalty hearing after admitting he should have known more about the ownership bona fides of five horses in his stable including Group One winner Azkadellia.

Azkadellia, Little Bubulu, Loveable Rogue, Hart and Mr Simples were raced in the name of Maher’s former racing manager Ben Connolly but were reportedly linked to convicted conman Peter Foster.

Racing Victoria stewards allege Maher ought to have known about the ownership of the five horses.

Maher will plead guilty to a charge of conduct prejudicial to the image, interests or welfare of racing at a Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board penalty hearing on Monday.

The Caulfield-based trainer has said he decided to plead guilty after considerable reflection following a year-long stewards’ investigation.

In a letter to owners, Maher said he accepted that if he had thought less about the horses and more about the broader implications, he ought to have known there were serious question marks about the ownership of the horses.

His penalty could range from a fine to suspension or disqualification.

Connolly, who stood down from his position with the stable a year ago, faces two charges over allegations he made misrepresentations and provided misleading and/or inaccurate information about the ownership of the horses.

No date has been set for Connolly’s hearing before the RAD Board.

Azkadellia won more than $1.5 million in prize money before being banned from racing until the completion of the stewards’ investigation.

The mare won the Group One Queen of the Turf Stakes at Randwick in April 2016.

 
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