Cobalt probe: Trainers slam “cavalier timing” of show-cause notice   Leave a comment

Cobalt probe: Trainers slam “cavalier timing” of show-cause notices

July 24, 2015 – 10:43PM

Chris Roots and Adam Pengilly

Emotional: Mark Kavanagh is one of five trainers asked to show cause why they should not be stood down from training over the cobalt scandal.Emotional: Mark Kavanagh is one of five trainers asked to show cause why they should not be stood down from training over the cobalt scandal. Photo: Patrick Scala

Two of the Victorian trainers under threat of being rubbed out for the spring carnival before having a chance to defend cobalt charges have slammed the “cavalier timing” of Racing Victoria’s show-cause notice, while pledging to “redouble” their determination to clear their names.

Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh are being represented by Damian Sheales.


They have penned an emotional letter to stable clients only hours after Racing Victoria stewards asked the pair – along with champion trainer Peter Moody and the group 1-winning father-and-son partnership of Lee and Shannon Hope – to show cause why they should not immediately be stood down from training.

O’Brien and Kavanagh indicated they were told of the show-cause confirmation only minutes before it was released publicly at 5.45pm on Friday.

In a letter provided to the Herald, O’Brien said: “I am simply amazed that the integrity department would commence a show-cause procedure in this way.

“I fail to understand why I could not have been given notice [say 24 hours] to advise you, my clients as well as my staff.

“The most bitterly disappointing aspect of the cavalier timing of this announcement without notice is that my staff will have a weekend unnecessarily attended by high distress with regard to their security of employment.”

O’Brien estimated more than 100 staff are employed by the four Victorian stables. He also said he is possessed of a “completely clear conscience in the allegations against me”.

“This application simply redoubles my determination to clear my name,” he wrote.

Racing Victoria has refused to comment further on the show cause notices.

O’Brien, Kavanagh, Moody and the Hope training partnership are facing a combined 32 charges for various horses returning cobalt levels exceeding the 200 micrograms per litre of urine threshold.

They have all been asked to appear before stewards in show-cause hearings on Wednesday, which Racing Victoria have said will be closed to the media.

The trainers will be forced to argue why they should be allowed to maintain a licence – even though only the Hopes have a date set for their Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board inquiry, which is two days before the Caulfield Cup – in the lead-up to racing’s marquee spring carnival.

Racing Victoria stewards’ move on Friday followed one of the veterinarians at the centre of the cobalt scandal, Flemington Equine Clinic part-owner Dr Tom Brennan, admitting to stewards on Monday he had not provided truthful evidence in a previous NSW inquiry and Victorian investigation.

Brennan confessed to receiving a $3000 payment from both O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh, which he then paid to another unidentified veterinarian who had supplied him with two bottles labelled “vitamin complex”, later found to have high concentrations of cobalt.

Kavanagh denies making the payment while O’Brien disputes aspects of Brennan’s evidence about the payment.

Brennan said he administered the substance from the bottles to horses under O’Brien and Kavanagh’s care, but denies knowing what was in them and was told by the other veterinarian it wasn’t a prohibited substance, including cobalt.

The Flemington Equine partner made similar concessions to Racing NSW stewards in the case of Sam Kavanagh, Mark’s son, who was stood down before his own inquiry after making admissions about his stable practices, including raceday treatments.

Brennan will voluntarily stand down from providing veterinary services in Victoria from August 1.

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Posted July 25, 2015 by belesprit09 in Uncategorized

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