Stewards disqualify Birdsville three in Jigger case
8 March 2023
The three guilty Queensland racing participants in the Birdsville jigger case have today been disqualified.
Thoroughbred trainer Todd Austin has been disqualified for five years, Jockey Ric McMahon has been disqualified for three and a half years and stable hand Toni Austin was disqualified for twelve months when QRIC stewards handed down their penalties.
When considering appropriate penalty QRIC Chief Thoroughbred Steward Josh Adams said stewards view breaches of this kind very seriously, as it can have a detrimental effect on the image of racing, and penalties must serve as a general deterrent to illustrate to the entire racing industry that these activities cannot be condoned.
“The possession and use of jiggers is abhorrent and is a practice that tarnishes the image of the racing industry where animal welfare is paramount,” he said.
“There is no lesser penalty that could be imposed to maintain public confidence and integrity in racing and to safeguard the welfare of all animals involved in racing.”
The penalties came after a raft of charges when a photograph came to light showing jockey McMahon with an electronic device in his hand riding Hemmerle during a track gallop at the Birdsville Cup race meeting in August last year.
Mr Austin was found guilty on 8 February 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 was also found 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.
Mr McMahon plead guilty to possessing a jigger and providing false and misleading evidence in the inquiry which has spanned months as QRIC stewards investigated the incident around the famous and remote Queensland race meeting.
0472 842 346