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ATC Mounted Security Division charges

The Australian Turf Club says it will continue to co-operate with Racing NSW stewards as two staff members from the Mounted Security Unit face charges relating to conduct and horse welfare.

Michelle Steele, the Mounted Security co-ordinator and Dennis Mitchell, general manager security, risk and investigations, were charged on Tuesday after stewards conducted in-camera hearings into complaints received.

ATC chief executive Darren Pearce said the horses in question were in the spelling paddock and in good health.

“When we first became aware of the complaints, as a precaution we immediately had the horses spelled and independently vetted, and they were found then and continue to be, in good health,” Pearce said.

“Unfortunately it is alleged that on occasions over the past two years two staff members engaged in the ATC Mounted Security program breached the Australian Rules of Racing.

“Whilst those two members of staff are very disappointed with the charges, they are reviewing them and considering their options.

“The ATC will continually work with Racing NSW and other authorities in maintaining the highest standards of care and management of our horses.”

A third staff member of the unit has been cleared during the investigation.

Pearce said the two staff members who had been charged would remain on restricted duties away from direct contact with horses until the inquiry was completed.

Stewards say when the inquiry is held, they will provide further information and include any recommendations regarding the operation of the Mounted Security Division.

Horses from the unit attend race days and outside events and also visit aged care and special needs facilities.

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