Cobalt-accused trainers deal: freeze prizes or be frozen out   Leave a comment

Cobalt-accused trainers deal: freeze prizes or be frozen out

Racing Writer
Melbourne
Trainer Peter Moody leaves the Racing Victoria hearing into Cobalt use yesterday. Picture

Trainer Peter Moody leaves the Racing Victoria hearing into Cobalt use yesterday. Picture: Colleen Petch.Source: News Corp Australia

Freeze prizemoney percentages or be frozen out of the run-up to spring racing carnival features. They were two of the propositions offered to the trainers charged with cobalt offences yesterday at the show-cause hearing in front of stewards at Racing Victoria’s Flemington office.

Peter Moody, Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh were adamant the freezing of their percentages would have crippling effects on their businesses.

Stewards, whose charter is to protect and uphold the image of racing, believe any prizemoney should be held in trust and trainers found guilty of cobalt charges be denied the fruits of the carnival.

The Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board would determine what became of a trainer’s accepted 10 per cent of prizemoney. It may determine the money should be forfeited.

Moody has 360 horses on his books belonging to 1100 owners. At any one time the Caulfield ­stable can have 120 horses in training. He employs 70 staff at his Caulfield stable with a weekly wages bill of about $50,000. If suspended, horses will need to be relocated to other stables and redundancy payments to staff would tally up to approximately $200,000.

“Every dollar that goes through my business is funnelled back into my business to keep it going,’’ Moody said after weighing up his options with his QC, Mathew Stirling.

O’Brien’s wages bill is $1.4 million annually while Kavanagh’s about half that. Barrister Damian Sheales, representing the Flemington trainers, said his clients would be ruined if suspended.

Sheales said the science around cobalt was still evolving and he argued whether it was performance-enhancing. However, in the volumes detected, it may still be deemed a prohibited substance.

Sheales accused Racing Victoria’s head of equine welfare and veterinary services, Brian Stewart, of making comments that “created a public perception that cobalt was rocket fuel’’. He said it would be unfair to suspend the licences of his clients, arguing “people made statements the science doesn’t support”.

Jeff Gleeson QC, for the stewards, fired back that the chances of cobalt occurring naturally at such high levels was less than one in seven million.

O’Brien and Kavanagh had Tom Brennan of the Flemington Equine Clinic as their vet. Brennan corrected his evidence to stewards last week, some suggest precipitating the show-cause letters being issued late last Friday afternoon.

Sheales sought to discredit Brennan, who was not requested to attend, labelling him a “liar’’ and chided the stewards over the timing of the hearing, which drew a sharp response from chief steward Terry Bailey. “What also creates a furore is a vet supplying multivitamins for $3000,’’ Bailey said.

Brennan, no longer a practising horse vet after this Friday, has 11 charges to answer. O’Brien has 16 charges and Kavanagh has four.

A directions hearing is set down For August 17, at which time a date for the O’Brien and Kavanagh cases will be set.

Father-son combination Lee and Shannon Hope have nine charges hanging over them. They will have the charges heard by the RAD board over three days beginning on October 15.

Stewards offered the Hopes the chance to continue training on a restricted licence. Their share of prizemoney accumulated would be held in trust, pending the outcome of their cases.

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Posted July 30, 2015 by belesprit09 in Uncategorized

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