Darren Bell benefit fund reaches $38,000Sunday 24 September 2017
An appeal to help trainer Darren Bell who has been forced to quit after racking up heavy debts when his stable was closed because of a case of strangles has reached $38,000.
Trainers expect a submission to help Bell and others in a similar situation to go the Racing Queensland board on Wednesday.
Bell, who used Deagon for trackwork but has stables at Caboolture, reported two cases of strangles in his horses in December.
RQ closed Bell's stables down and he was not able to return to racing until April.
Bell has had 15 winners since resuming but the prize money has barely made a dent in his debt.
Bell this week said it had taken such a financial and emotional strain on him he had no choice but to quit.
"I hate to sound melodramatic but by doing the right thing by the industry and reporting the strangles I have been driven out of it," Bell said.
A benefit fund was immediately organised and by Saturday had reached $38,000. It is open for another three weeks.
The Queensland branch of the Australian Trainers Association has been battling with RQ since January to get help for Bell.
ATAQ secretary Cameron Partington said he had numerous conversations with Bell over the past six months.
"Darren wasn't comfortable with charity from his colleagues and friends. He also wanted RQ/QRIC to come to the party and assist," Partington said.
"The ATA fought long and hard with RQ-QRIC on Darren's behalf back in January to get compensation and eventually QRIC reimbursed the owners for the pathology costs of about $10,000."
"Darren got nothing and QRIC was strong in saying this was a "one-off" and the limit of their liability."
He said submissions were made to board member Mark Sowerby seeking compensation for Bell and to set up a process for the future and he was expected to take it to the board on Wednesday.