THE fate of a plaque outside the Warrnambool Racing Club committee room honouring the achievements of disgraced trainer Darren Weir will be hotly debated on Thursday.
The plaque acknowledges Weir, who trained a record 14 winners at the 2017 May Racing Carnival.
The committee will discuss whether the plaque, which details Weir's 14 victories including the Warrnambool Cup, Wangoom Handicap and Galleywood Hurdle from the 30 races run across the three-day event, remains.
Weir was earlier this year disqualified for four years.
Two weeks ago club chairman Nick Rule said his personal view was for the plaque to stay but some irate members have expressed that it should be taken down.
"I had thought the plaque should stay while other matters relating to Weir are played out," Rule said. "But there are some people who have other opinions and the best way to sort it out is for the committee to discuss our options on Thursday."
More than 10 racing club members and people from the general public have contacted The Standard saying the plaque should be removed.
One disgruntled WRC member, who declined to be named, said the plaque should be removed immediately. "Weir is disqualified for four years. I think that says it all," the long-time member told The Standard. "Weir is now facing other serious criminal charges. I don't think the racing club has any other option but to take it down."
Weir was disqualified for four years by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in February after pleading no contest to possessing three jiggers found in the master bedroom at his Miners Rest property and conduct prejudicial to racing.
He is facing nine criminal charges, including six animal cruelty offences, possessing a firearm, using a controlled weapon without an excuse and conspiracy to defraud racing stewards. The animal cruelty charges relate to engaging in the alleged torturing, abusing, overworking and terrifying of a racehorse. Racing Victoria stewards are waiting to speak to him about other matters.
YOUNG Warrnambool jumps jockey Brad Thomas-Rantall is weighing up his options about which path his riding career will head in 2020.
Thomas-Rantall is back in Warrnambool after riding trackwork for legendary New Zealand trainer Kevin Myers for two months. The former Warrnambool College student nearly caused a major upset in the Great Northern Steeplechase at Ellerslie in New Zealand in September.
Thomas-Rantall rode the rank outsider Kings Kate into second-place finishing just over a length behind Wise Men Say in New Zealand's jumps feature over 6400 metres.
"I'll just wait and see how things unfold before making any final decisions," the 22-year-old hoop said. "My partner Ellie is expecting a baby in December. We're both fully focused on the birth of our child. I really enjoyed my time working for Kevin in New Zealand. He's a master trainer and gave me some great opportunities. I've been offered the chance to go back over there to ride but for now I'll be riding trackwork at Patrick Payne's for one day in the week and also riding trackwork at Warrnambool on the other mornings."
Thomas-Rantall, who made his Australian jumps debut at this year's Warrnambool May Racing Carnival is related to the late legendary Warrnambool jumps jockey Neville Rantall has a burning ambition to win the Grand Annual Steeplechase. "The Annual is the race every jumps jockey wants to win," he said. "I would love to win one during my career."
WARRNAMBOOL trainer Daniel Bowman is not wasting anytime trying to find his next star galloper.
Bowman, who trained Begood Toya Mother to win the group one Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield in September, flew to the Gold Coast last week to make a purchase at the Magic Millions Two-Year- Olds Breeze Up Sale.
"We purchased a colt by Rubick," Bowman said. "He's a lovely type of colt. We watched the video of him and he galloped really good. We had him inspected and vetted before making the purchase. We paid $85,000 for him. I reckon it was a good buy because he's already been broken in and educated. I think in six months time he'll develop into a cracking colt. We've already sold 75 per cent of him, there's only a few shares left."
Bowman said the win of Begood Toya Mother in the Rupert Clarke had been a big result for his stable. "We've had a lot of people make inquiries about our stable since the win," he said. "We're hopeful that going forward we may receive some long term benefits from the group one win of Begood Toya Mother."
TALENTED jockey Clayton Douglas is on the sidelines for ten meetings after pleading guilty to a careless riding charge after his ride on Substantial at Warrnambool last Friday. Stewards found that passing the 500 metre mark Douglas permitted Substantial to shift in when not clear of Aerovictory causing that gelding to be steadied and lose its rightful running. His suspension starts at midnight on October 26. The suspension expires midnight November 4. Stewards took into account his guilty plea, forthright evidence and good recent record and deemed the incident in the mid-range before handing down the penalty.