Big-stakes countdown as cobalt verdict looms for five trainers   Leave a comment

Big-stakes countdown as cobalt verdict looms for five trainers

Stewards, concerned the presence of the trainers during the spring would compromise the image and integrity of the sport, have said they would be notified “as soon as possible.’’

Horse trainer Peter Moody faces cobalt hearing

http://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/external?url=http://content4.video.news.com.au/foxsports/prod/archive/2015/07/29/FSD_290715_HOR_RACING_HEARINGS_VSV.jpg&width=650&api_key=kq7wnrk4eun47vz9c5xuj3mc

THE five Victorian trainers on cobalt charges who say they will be ruined if stood down by stewards will know their fate in days.

Lee and Shannon Hope, Peter Moody, Mark Kavanagh and Danny O’Brien revealed through their lawyers the devastating cost if stewards suspended their licences before the spring carnival and before their cases are heard by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board.

Damian Sheales, acting for Kavanagh and O’Brien, said “they will be financially ruined if stood down. There will be no coming back.’’

Sheales said O’Brien would have to sell his Barwon Heads training complex and Kavanagh also had financial burdens.

All four stables were asked if they would be prepared to have prizemoney cuts — 5 per cent of purses — earned in the spring frozen until their hearings, in return for being allowed to continue training.

Peter Moody said he would struggle to survive the spring if his percentage of prizemoney

Peter Moody said he would struggle to survive the spring if his percentage of prizemoney was frozen. Picture: Colleen Petch. Source: News Corp Australia

The Hopes said they would be agreeable to the offer but the other stables rejected it.

Moody, who said over 70 staff would have to be sacked if he was stood down, as well as hundreds of horses re-homed, said he would struggle to survive the spring if his percentage was frozen. “It would make it very hard,’’ he said.

His counsel, Matthew Stirling, said the case against his client was “entirely circumstantial and absolutely denied’’.

Both Stirling and Sheales said hysteria surrounding the cobalt cases — in part sparking the threat to stand the trainers down — had mainly been generated by Racing Victoria.

Sheales took aim at RVL’s chief vet Dr Brian Stewart, saying contentions made by Stewart regarding cobalt being performance-enhancing had not been supported by science.

“This perfect storm has been regrettably of (RVL’s) own making,’’ Sheales said. “This hysteria doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.”

Jeff Gleeson, acting for the stewards, said the cases, particularly against Moody, Kavanagh and O’Brien were “strong’’ and said the “evolution’’ of O’Brien’s evidence was of concern.

Stirling said “we don’t accept for a minute that it’s a strong case.’’

Bailey said the evidence of Dr Tom Brennan was “the elephant in the room”.

Lee and Shannon Hope were the first to front the show-cause hearings on Wednesday. Pictur

Lee and Shannon Hope were the first to front the show-cause hearings on Wednesday. Picture: Colleen Petch Source:News Corp Australia

Bailey pointed out that O’Brien had failed to notify stewards in January that he had paid Brennan, his vet at the time, $3000 for “vitamin’’ drips. O’Brien revealed the payment months later.

Responding to the “furore’’ of media headlines relating to the cases, Bailey said: “What also creates furore is a vet providing vitamins for $3000 which Mr O’Brien failed to make us aware of.’’

Sheales said evidence provided by Brennan had “been patently absurd’’ and that Brennan was “an admitted liar”.

Robert Stitt, QC, acting for the Hopes, said his clients had been truthful with stewards and they had “no intention to cheat or breach the rules”.

He said Lee Hope had been training for 50 years “without a charge’’ and hadn’t heard of cobalt until he learned of a threshold for it, last April.

The Hopes had suggested supplements, including an iron powder, may have caused three horses to return illegal cobalt levels.

Moody had no explanation while O’Brien and Kavanagh are blaming Brennan for providing cobalt to their horses in drips. They say they were not aware the drips contained cobalt.

Originally published as Big-stakes countdown as cobalt verdict looms

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Posted July 30, 2015 by belesprit09 in Uncategorized

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