Jenny - Clean

A FORMER Queensland harness trainer who pleaded guilty to backing his own horses to lose in 2014 has been disqualified for two years for allegedly assaulting a steward.

BRAD DAVIDSON reports for the GOLD COAST BULLETIN that former harness trainer Justin Abbott has been banned after he was found guilty of making physical contact to the head region of Racing Queensland steward Paul Zimmermann at a stable inspection at trainer Travis Mackay’s stables on January 23.

A Racing Queensland stewards' report alleged the incident occurred when stewards were questioning Abbott after observing him ungearing registered racehorse Sparkling Cullect following trackwork at Mackay’s stables.

Abbott was an unlicensed person at the time.

It was also alleged Abbott made derogatory comments to Zimmermann and fellow steward Michael Ross relating to another steward.

Abbott pleaded not guilty but was found guilty on both counts. He was banned for two years and three months for the two charges. The bans are to be served concurrently.

The latest ban comes after Abbott had a five-year disqualification from the sport reduced to time served in 2014 after the case was heard by the Racing Disciplinary Board.

Abbott was banned for three years after being found guilty of three charges relating to laying his horses on Betfair in races at Redcliffe and Albion Park in February-March 2014.

Stewards also handed him a two-year ban, to be served concurrently, for behaviour prejudicial to the industry and another two-year penalty to be served cumulatively for intimidating stewards.

Abbott’s conviction and penalty relating to prejudicial behaviour and intimidating stewards were quashed on appeal, while the RDB reduced Abbott’s penalty for laying his own horses on Betfair to time already served, which in effect was close to nine months.

Attempts to contact Abbott yesterday were unsuccessful.

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