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Ben Currie owners stopped from transfer

Lawyers for controversial trainer Ben Currie have made an official complaint that stewards have refused to allow owners to move their horses from his Toowoomba stables.

Currie still faces a further 42 allegations and has also indicated he could ask for a judicial review of a Racing Queensland decision to refuse his nominations imposed this week.

Whether the judicial review application goes ahead will depend on whether Currie gets a result of an inquiry into two charges which were heard in the past 10 days.

Currie, the state’s leading trainer on winners this season, has nearly 100 horses in work and a staff of 15.

Stewards opened an inquiry last week into two allegations of animal cruelty against Currie based on text messages sent in 2015 which indicated he had used or instructed someone else to use a jigger on a horse.

Those charges were discontinued last week and the inquiry continued on alternate charges of bringing racing into disrepute.

In the meantime several of Currie’s owners have tried to transfer their horses to ensure their campaigns are not disrupted.

But they say they have been stymied with stewards using an Australian Racing rule which gives them the alleged right to deny transfers from a trainer facing charges.

Currie’s solicitor Michael O’Connor confirmed he had written to stewards complaining they were wrongly applying the rule AR 23.

He said the move was costing owners money and denying them a chance to race their horses.

A spokesman for Queensland Racing Integrity Commission told AAP they would assess the transfer of horses on a case by case basis.

QRIC Intends to continue with inquiries into 28 charges arising from a raid on Currie’s stables in early April last year.

It will also pursue seven charges arising from other text messages and hold hearings into five alleged positive swabs.

There is an unusual twist to the 28 charges because 14 of them have been heard and 14 have been adjourned due to the illness of a steward.

Another member of the stewards panel, Ian Brown, has resigned to take up a senior position with the Gold Coast Turf Club.

Allan Reardon, the third member of the original panel which originally charged Currie, finished work with QRIC last year.

In effect it means none of the original panel might be able to complete the inquiry.

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