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An Australian racehorse trainer has been suspended for 27 months after dumping 13 dead horses.

Trevor Day pleaded guilty to the charge of “conduct prejudicial to the image of racing” at a Thoroughbred Racing South Australia (TRSA) stewards’ hearing last Wednesday (6 May).

Day dumped the horses over a period of nine years in Mount Magnificent Conservation Park, a protected area in the Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia.

In addition to the suspension of his training license, he was issued with a fine AU$2,500 and is not allowed to enter the lorry car park, stables, parade ring or mounting yard at any racecourse.

The enquiry was launched after equine remains were found at the site on 7 April.

The dumped horses included a former racehorse, a stallion and a foal, which had been born dead. Six other thoroughbreds and four unidentified horses were also found dead in the conservation area.

All of the horses had been in Day’s care before their deaths. It is not believed they were mistreated or neglected.

“There was no evidence, and stewards were satisfied, that none of the deceased horses were either ill-treated or subjected to welfare-related issues,” stated the stipendiary steward’s report.

It appeared they had died of natural causes or had been put down because of serious injury or illness.

The report added that all horses that had been put down were euthanised “in accordance with accepted standards”.

Prior to this case, Day had had a clean record during his longstanding involvement with the sport, having held a trainers’ license for 24 years.

Day trains a small team of hoses from his Riverside Stud at Mount Compass, South Australia.

He has trained three winners in the past 12 months, but only had three official starters at meetings this year.