Birdsville pair found guilty in jigger inquiry

8 February 2023

Queensland thoroughbred trainer Todd Austin has been found guilty of three of the four charges issued by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission stewards in the Birdsville jigger inquiry.  

Mr Austin is guilty of commissioning an act of cruelty to a horse and two charges of providing false or misleading evidence to stewards at the inquiry.

Mr Austin’s wife Toni Austin is also guilty of providing false or misleading evidence to stewards at the inquiry.

Stewards found Mr Austin guilty of an act of cruelty to registered thoroughbred Hemmerle when he engaged jockey Ric McMahon to ride the horse at trackwork during the Birdsville Cup race meeting in August last year.

An alternative charge issued to Mr Austin relating to the possession of the electronic device is not being pursued.

Mr McMahon plead guilty to possessing a jigger and providing false and misleading evidence earlier in the inquiry which has spanned months as QRIC stewards investigated the incident around the famous and remote Queensland race meeting.

The guilty verdict comes after a photograph came to light sending shockwaves through the racing industry showing jockey McMahon with an electronic device in his hand riding Hemmerle during a track gallop.

The three currently suspended participants have been given one week to provide penalty submissions before the Stewards determine their fate.


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