Trainer Ben Currie at the QTIS Jewel Raceday on the Gold Coast in March
Trainer Ben Currie at the QTIS Jewel Raceday on the Gold Coast in March

Currie loses appeal over ban on horses

EMBATTLED horse trainer Ben Currie has lost a Supreme Court bid to stop Racing Queensland rejecting race nominations for horses he trains.

The Toowoomba trainer was last week handed a four-year disqualification from racing after he was found guilty of two charges of having the intention to use electronic jiggers to impact the performance of horses.

After Racing Queensland rejected nominations from Currie to race horses at meets earlier this month, the trainer lodged an application in the Supreme Court in an attempt to stop future rejections, pending the outcome of a hearing in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal tomorrow in which he will challenge the disqualification.

Currie's barrister today argued that Racing Queensland did not have the power to reject nominations.

"The applicant's contention is that the rejection of a nomination … is not a function of Racing Queensland and as a result ought not be and cannot be exercised by Racing Queensland," he said.

Justice Jean Dalton said Currie's affidavit filed with the court argued the trainer would be unable to continue his racing business if the court did not intervene, saying the business had already been "gravely injured".

Barrister for Queensland Racing Brian O'Donnell QC argued that Currie's current disqualification prohibited him from nominating in races.

"Mr Currie cannot presently nominate a horse to participate in a race," he said.

"Which means that … there could be no rejection because there can be no nomination."

Justice Dalton rejected Currie's application, saying she accepted the decision would have a "significant financial impost" on his business.

"If an injunction was granted in the terms sought it would prohibit Racing Queensland rejecting an application to race even where such a rejection was warranted," she said.

"Making an injunction in the terms sought would cut across the Australian rules of that someone who is disqualified as a trainer may not nominate their horse to run in a race."

Currie is still yet to face a further 35 charges and determination in the case of five swab irregularities.

The trainer has previously successfully sought two Stays of Proceedings through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal to allow him to continue training.

He has trained 136 winners in Queensland this season - more than any other trainer - for earnings topping $3.4 million.