Stewards reject brother or assistant taking over Maher team

Brad Waters - Tuesday September 26

Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey has rejected the idea of Ciaron Maher's brother or assistant trainer taking over his big Caulfield team when he starts a six-month suspension on Monday.

Terry Bailey outlined the conditions of the transfer of Ciaron Maher's horses on Melbourne radio.. Photo: Darryl Sherer

The Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board banned Maher for six months and fined him $75,000 for engaging in conduct prejudicial to the interest of racing at a hearing on Monday.

Maher pleaded guilty to the charge after conceding he ought to have known of irregularities surrounding the ownership of five horses, including Group I winner Azkadellia.

Bailey told RSN the size of Maher's Caulfield team ruled out the trainer's brother Declan or his assistant trainer David Eustace, who have recently secured restricted trainer's licences from taking over the stable.

"At this point in time, they don't have the required level of licence to take over such a large team," Bailey said.

"Therefore, I couldn't see that being a possibility given Ciaron has got seven days to make arrangements (for his horses)."

Bailey said Maher had put forward multiple options for the transfer of his stable but stewards said any new arrangements must be free of the Caulfield Cup-winning horseman's influence.

"What we need to be satisfied of is that Mr Maher has no input into the training of the horses and derives no benefit from the training of the horses," Bailey said.

"These days, with companies and so forth, we need to be satisfied that whoever it is, is acting alone and Mr Maher has absolutely no involvement.

"It would be a sham if the staff continued to be employed by Ciaron Maher and they just had a figurehead in the racebook.

"We don't believe that would be in the best interests of the sport. Ciaron Maher Racing the company simply can't continue to employ the staff."

Maher's former racing manager Ben Connolly was the registered owner of the offending horses at the time stewards banned them from racing last year and will face the RAD Board to answer charges relating to his involvement in the case on a date to be fixed.

The horses are alleged to have raced in Connolly's name but convicted conman Peter Foster is believed to be among the real owners of the thoroughbreds.

Bailey said Azkadellia's racing future remains unclear with nobody coming forward to claim ownership of the mare.

"We have basically said, for us to approve any sort of transfer, we'd need a court order and we'd stand by whatever that court order is," Bailey said.

"At the present time, we have really got no-one putting up their hand to say who owns her."






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