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Trainer’s Two-Year Ban Quashed

Published: July 27, 2016 12:04 pm ET

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A Supreme Court has ruled that a two-year ban that was recently handed to a Standardbred trainer has been reversed due to a lack of impartiality of an official with a high rank in the racing commission.

Earlier this year, former Standardbred trainer Justin Abbott was handed a two-year suspension after having allegedly assaulted (made physical contact with) a Racing Queensland steward – named Paul Zimmerman – during an inspection of trainer Travis Mackay’s stable Down Under.

An article by 9 News states that Abbott has successfully appealed to have his licence reinstated.

Brisbane Supreme Court Justice David Jackson ruled on Wednesday (July 27) that the inquiry which led to the two-year ban lacked impartiality. The article explains that the commission’s chief steward also chaired the panel that handed down the ban.

In his overturning of the ban, Justice Jackson explained that the chief steward failed to disclose particular discussions he had with Zimmerman prior to and after the alleged physical contact.

The article goes on to explain that the case will now be heard again by a different panel of stewards.

Abbott is roughly a decade removed from having trained horses that competed on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit in Ontario and at Freehold Raceway and the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. In the early 2000s, Abbott’s stable earned more than $1 million in purses in North America for two consecutive seasons. The last time he was a trainer of record in North America was early in 2003.

Prior to the alleged incident, Abbott had pled guilty to having backed one of his horses to lose in 2014. Abbott was not licenced to be working with racehorses when he was observed ‘ungearing’ a registered Standardbred in Mackay’s barn on January 23, 2016, the day in which the alleged assault took place.

(With files from 9 News)


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