10th January 2018

Eight racehorse trainers charged with breaching rules of racing

Eight horse trainers have been charged with various breaches of the Australian Rules of Racing, following an investigation by Racing Victoria into the raceday treatment of Lovani, which grew to encompass over 100 instances of alleged doping of horses stretching back seven years. In total, 271 charges have been laid against eight trainers, which include treating horses with alkalising agents – such as sodium bicarbonate – prior to races using modified syringes. The charges include various breaches of betting rules and failure to cooperate with investigators.

Horse trainer Robert Smerdon and Greg Nelligan, his stable employee, are understood to account for the largest number of charges. ‘In the case of Mr Smerdon and Nelligan, the alleged raceday treatments number in excess of 100 and allegedly occurred in the period from 2010 to 2017’, read a statement. As the inquiry is ongoing, it is understood that further charges could be issued in the future.

Smerdon is listed as a high profile trainer at Aquanita, one of Australia’s most successful thoroughbred racing stables. It is understood that all eight individuals charged are linked to Aquanita, which has yet to release a statement. The organisation is understood to have sent a letter to racehorse owners stating that it is reviewing the charges.

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