Cobalt probe: Trainers asked to show cause why they should not be immediately stood down   Leave a comment

Cobalt probe: Trainers asked to show cause why they should not be immediately stood down

July 24, 2015 – 6:38PM
Under scuritny: Trainer Danny O'Brien is caught up in the cobalt scandal.Under scuritny: Trainer Danny O’Brien is caught up in the cobalt scandal. Photo: Getty Images

The racing industry has been rocked with Racing Victoria stewards today issuing show-cause notices to five trainers involved in the cobalt scandal that has stunned Australian racing.

This could mean new trainers would have to be found for up to 1000 horses with the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups just months away.

The notices that were decided on by stewards and legal counsel for Racing Victoria will require Peter Moody, Danny O’Brien, Mark Kavanagh and Lee and Shannon Hope to show cause why they should not immediately be stood down from training pending hearings into charges relating to the administration of cobalt.

Trainer Peter Moody looks on during Saturday's races at Flemington.Trainer Peter Moody. Photo: Getty Images

The show-cause notices have been issued in part because of new evidence provided this week to Racing Victoria stewards from veterinarian Tom Brennan. On Monday, Brennan recanted old evidence and said he had sold “vitamin bottles” to Mark Kavanagh and O’Brien.

Brennan has told Racing Victoria investigators that two Flemington horse trainers paid him $3000 each to purchase vitamins, which were later shown to contain cobalt, which is illegal when present in concentrations of more than 200 micrograms per litre of urine.

The notices have been issued against all five trainers because of the potential perception that the interests of racing might be being harmed if they continue to train, especially in the lead-up to the spring carnival.

Many in the industry are applauding this move by stewards as. Lee and Shannon Hope’s Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board hearing is scheduled to clash with Melbourne’s spring racing carnival – starting the day before the Caulfield Cup.

This conflict prompted leading industry people to call for the cobalt hearings to be delayed.

But many believe the industry’s reputation is almost irretrievably tarnished because of the cobalt charges and that any further delay would be disastrous.

With the issuing of the show-cause notices, the industry will be trying to bring these damaging cases to a head as quickly as possible.

This is not the first time trainers have been stood down in Australia’s long-running cobalt scandal. In Western Australia and New South Wales, Sharon Taylor, Sam Kavanagh and Darren Smith were all immediately stood down after cobalt positives because their continued training was considered to be prejudicial to the image of racing.

This week Brennan, embroiled in cobalt positives in two states and facing multiple charges in Victoria and New South Wales, agreed to voluntarily stand down from practising as a racehorse veterinarian from August 1 until his charges are heard.

Should the trainers stand down after the issuing of the show-cause notices, the impact on the racing industry would be massive. The five trainers between them are responsible for at least 1000 horses which would have to be relocated and new trainers found.

Moody prepares 120 horses in his stable at Caulfield and has more than 300 horses on his books year round.

All the stables are in the top 20 in Australia. Owners would have to select new stables for horses that are being primed for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup carnivals.

Many in the industry say the relocation of horses now is preferable as it takes away the possibility of that occurring in the middle of the spring carnival.

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Posted July 25, 2015 by belesprit09 in Uncategorized

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