Racing around the ridges

Explosive claims: Racing Victoria’s chief steward, Terry Bailey, has some tricky business to deal with.
Explosive claims: Racing Victoria’s chief steward, Terry Bailey, has some tricky business to deal with.

Get ready for some sensational headlines after Racing Victoria’s chief steward, Terry Bailey, released some of the alleged information obtained over a lengthy period of time which included claims of secret encrypted phone messages on what horses to back.

According to reports, a “whistle blower” has alleged that horses under the care of Aguanita were sometimes doped and this information was passed on to punters via encrypted messages.

Aquanita is the name given to a group of companies that supplies accommodation and stabling facilities for a number of trainers on Caulfield race course.

Apparently the media side of things was allegedly set off when a float driver for trainer Robert Smerden was observed taking a horse called Lovani into a swabbing stall and administrating a plunger paste.

The horse was scratched as a rule states that no horse can be given any race day treatment without the permission of stewards.

Of course the rumours and innuendos continued to build especially as Melbourne Racing Club chairman since 2008 Mike Symons is also a director of Aquanita, which oversees all the operations on Caulfield race course. 

Rumours are suggesting Victorian Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna could be briefed by stewards in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile MRC vice chairman Peter Le Grand said Symons had advised all directors of his pending interview with stewards and told them he had no knowledge of any doping or any other matter that broke any rules of racing.

He was assured of the full support of the committee.

There is no doubt this story will dominate the sporting headlines several times over the next few months for all the wrong reasons.

The racing industry is still suffering the effects of the cobalt saga which went on and on for many months destroying reputations on both sides and costing millions in legal fees.

Stewards found some leading trainers guilty and they faced career ending disqualifications.

The decisions were appealed and the judge immediately upheld the appeals on a technicality.

According to reports Racing Victoria has appealed that decision to the High Court so the cobalt saga continues.