Jenny - Clean


SO top trainers Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh had no idea what the drip contained.

They said (under oath) that they had no idea it was Cobalt.

No, they had no idea!

Well, maybe they didn’t know – but so what?

They said they didn’t administer it and that was enough to clear them of the charge and for O’Brien to claim excitedly:

“We have been exonerated of wrong-doing.

“Absolutely, it's a win,” he said.


“This has always been about administration and once again we've been found to be completely innocent of administration.”

Surely the question remains: Did they know the massively expensive vitamin drip contained cobalt? And did they agree (or ask) to have their horses treated with it?

It does not matter who actually administered it. In big stables it is often not the trainer anyway who injects the horses – and certainly not always the vet. But under the Rules of Racing the trainer remains solely responsible for whatever the horse is given.

VCAT president, Justice Greg Garde, had concluded that while there was no doubt cobalt was administered to four O'Brien horses and one Kavanagh racehorse in late 2014, the trainers had no knowledge of it.

“It was clear they were victims of veterinarian Tom Brennan and had no knowledge, inkling or suspicion that the vet intended to use the contents of a ‘vitamin complex’ bottle in drips for their horses, the Judge said in dismissing the charges in March.

The cobalt case dragged on far too long. Top trainer Peter Moody dropped out claiming crippling legal expenses early in proceedings and is glad he did.

This cobalt case involving all trainers should have been resolved months ago without the lawyers and Supreme Court judges whose role in racing matters is also now clearly under question.

In hindsight RV integrity and stewards might have played it differently. But the fact remains they detected cobalt and tried to do their job under, at times, very difficult circumstances.



IF Cobalt is such a good pain killer and pick me up, the north’s oldest trainer, Errol Sewell, needs some urgently!

Errol took a tumble from his truck while searching for his binoculars at the Cluden races last week and ended up in hospital with a broken hip.

The Octogenarian master trainer had only recently recovered from a broken leg – the result of a hefty kick (by a horse – not his wife, Val) – and now this.

The entire racing community is mighty saddened by the incident but latest reports are that Errol has already had a full hip replacement and is eager to get back to doing what he knows best.

Maybe Flying Light can break the stable hoodoo at Cluden on Thursday. Here’s hoping!



THE $11 billion merger of gaming giants Tabcorp and Tatts Group is finally confirmed after a welcomed decision last Friday by the Australian Competition Tribunal.

That’s the good news for a week that has seen a few sensations!

Yes, it is great news, especially for Queensland, which has a racing industry barely functioning. In fact it is at its lowest ebb – and industry that has been plagued for20 years by poor and costly decisions by both Labor and Liberal State Governments.

Frankly, one almost as bad as the other.

Hopefully there will be competent leadership in the upcoming change and more importantly that the promised and desperately needed financial bonanza to flow from the merger will be wisely distributed – without prejudice.

But we all know-that’s a big ask!

The Tabcorp-Tatts merger was thrown into doubt in July after objections from the ACCC and astonishingly, the corporate bookie CrownBet.

Those objections resulted in a Federal Court order to revisit the decision.

But the ACT on Friday said it is satisfied that the proposed merger is likely to result in substantial public benefits and that detriments identified by CrownBet (part-owned by James Packer) and the ACCC are “unlikely to arise or are immaterial”.

CrownBet had brazenly argued that the deal was bad for punters and against the public interest – a contention that was totally dismissed last Friday.

So that paved the way for what could be the first step towards a national tote which many hope might curb the dominance for the free loading overseas corporates who have ravaged the Australian gambling industry. This merger would give Tabcorp around 90 per cent of Australia’s tote turnover.

A CrownBet spokesman said it will review the ACT's latest decision and consider its options amidst strong rumours that Packer himself is on the verge of relinquishing his interest in CrownBet.



THE farcical situation whereby a bloke named Robert Hickmott is listed as the trainer but never says a word while owner, the indomitable Lloyd Williams calls the tune, is over.

But it is only a change of guard. A new strapper will step up to the plate to carry all the responsibility of a trainer. He will have a badge – but no say – at least publicly.

Rumours abound as to why the sudden split. Maybe someone from Macedon Lodge made the comment on Cup eve that Almadin, the Williams-owned and trained favourite couldn’t finish in the first half of the Melbourne Cup field because he was ‘flattened’ by an excessive work regime under the instruction of the indefatigable owner. And Hickmott, as trainer, copped the blame – whether he uttered the prediction or not.

That is just one theory but it’s doubtful if the former Aussie Rules football star from Wangaratta will lose any sleep. Some say he needs a medal for staying so long in the shadows.

And by the way – with all the stable raids and sudden swoops by the RV Integrity Unit we wonder just how many unannounced stable inspections have been carried out at Macedon. A long-time former employee I spoke to recently says he can’t remember one.

Bottom line is if Williams wants to make all the decisions and accept the bouquets – he should also accept the responsibility of an official  trainer. It’s that simple. Give him the badge.

He made an absolute mockery of racing officialdom 10 years back when he had all his horses in the name of Graeme Rogerson. The rot should stop.





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