CONFUSION continues to surround the circumstances which saw a greyhound racing property at Lara raided on Wednesday afternoon.
A Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) media release confirmed the GRV Investigations Unit and welfare officers attended an unidentified property following allegations of illegal activity.
Speculations began to arise that the property may have been that of Thomas Mitchell and Blake Shillington, both of whom had their greyhounds withdrawn as late scratchings from the Cranbourne meeting on Wednesday night.
News sources reported that the property near Geelong was connected to former leading trainer Graeme Bate who is currently serving a lengthy disqualification period. But he has since come out and said he has nothing to do with the property, which is owned by his wife.
Leading owner-breeder Paul Wheeler, who has greyhounds with both Thomas Mitchell and Blake Shillington, said he was not aware of Bate having any involvement in the situation.
Wheeler said he was unable to comment on the specifics of the situation, with GRV yet to notify him for a reason why eight of his dogs were scratched from the Cranbourne meeting.
“I don’t know what’s happened,” he said.
“I will get feedback from them (Mitchell and Shillington) as it becomes more public, but at this stage I don’t even know what the raid was about.
“Apparently eight or 10 people raided the property all at once, I don’t know what they found, if they found anything or if they have breached any rules – I have got no idea.
“It is (concerning).”
Bate has also fired back at allegations he is involved in the fiasco, claiming his wife owns the property and he has nothing to do with it.
“That’s got nothing to do with me at all,” Bate said.
“I’ve been out of the game for three years, it expires in January. I’m a 70-year-old I don’t have anything to do with the dogs.
“I’m sick to death every time there is a problem they blame it on me.”
In a statement released on Wednesday, GRV said the raids were acting upon information received from an external source.
“Today’s raid is the culmination of many months of covert operations,” GRV CEO Alan Clayton said.
“It is a significant day as it demonstrates a much more sophisticated investigations capability within GRV and a greater preparedness for the industry to trust the regulator and provide information about potentially serious matters.
“This is all about the regulator regulating. As we know our industry is made up of many mums and dads who do the right thing.
“Our actions today will serve as further warning to those who do the wrong thing that we will find you and we will take appropriate action against any illegal activities and serious breaches of rules and regulations.”