Leading trainer Ciaron Maher and his former racing manager Ben Connolly have been charged following an investigation into the ownership bona fides of five horses including Group One winner Azkadellia.
Maher has been issued with four charges inclduing improper and dishonourable action and conduct prejudicial to the image, interests and welfare of racing.
Connolly is facing two charges of dishonest, improper or dishonourable action and giving misleading and inaccurate information.
He resigned as Maher’s racing manager last year after the investigation began into the ownership of Azkadellia, Loveable Rogue, Hart, Mr Simples and Little Bubulu.
Connolly was listed as the owner of Azkadellia when the mare won the Group One Queen of The Turf Stakes at Randwick in April last year.
Racing Victoria stewards allege Maher knew, suspected or ought to have known at certain times Connolly was not the beneficial owner of the horses.
They also allege Maher knew, suspected or ought to have known at certain times of Connolly’s misrepresentation and misleading or inaccurate information.
Stewards further allege Maher, in those circumstances, failed to take steps including notifying stewards of his knowledge or suspicions regarding the ownership of the horses.
Connolly’s charges relate to representations and information provided to Racing Victoria between August 2015 and April 2016 into his ownership of Azkadellia, Hart, Loveable Rogue and Mr Simples who were all barred from racing.
Azkadellia won the Queen of the Turf Stakes at Randwick in April 2016.
In June that year when Azkadellia was racing in Brisbane, the Courier Mail reported notorious convicted conman Peter Foster was being investigated as possibly having a financial interest in the mare.
Maher is considered one of the stars of the training ranks in Victoria and last spring won the Caulfield Cup, one of Australia’s biggest races, with Jameka.