Racing Victoria Lays Hundreds Of Charges Over Race Day Treatment

'These are very serious allegations.'

Racing Victoria Lays Hundreds Of Charges Over Race Day Treatment Image: Getty

Racing Victoria has laid hundreds of charges against eight racing figures, including Group 1 winning trainers Robert Smerdon, Tony Vasil and Stuart Webb.

Trainers Liam Birchley and Trent Pennuto as well as stable employees Daniel Garland, Greg Nelligan and Denise Nelligan have all also been charged.

The charges stem from an investigation into race day treatments given to numerous horses.

Stewards claim Smerdon and Greg Nelligan have been involved in more than 100 illegal race day treatments to horses from 2010 to 2017.

Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson said on Tuesday it was important the welfare of the horses is looked after.

“Racing Victoria’s primary objective is to protect the integrity of the sport and to enforce the Australian Rules of Racing, ensuring both a level playing field for all and the health and welfare of all horses competing in Victoria thoroughbred races," he said.

“These are very serious allegations and the Racing Victoria Integrity Services Department and our Stewards have worked swiftly to fully investigate these matters resulting in the laying of charges against eight people today.

“It is vital that in order to maintain a world-class thoroughbred racing industry that we have a world-class integrity regime that is strictly enforced. Where we have a breach of the rules, our Stewards and Integrity Services Department will take appropriate action to protect the integrity of the sport."

The investigation stemmed from the alleged treatment of Lovani in October last year.

"The majority of the charges relate to an alleged practice whereby numerous horses were given raceday treatments.  In the case of Messrs Smerdon and Nelligan, the particulars of those alleged raceday treatments number in excess of 100 and allegedly occurred in the period from 2010 to 2017," stewards said.

‘’One such particular is the alleged raceday treatment of Lovani on Saturday, 7 October 2017, when it was to race in the Paris Lane Handicap (Listed Race) over 1400 metres at Flemington Racecourse.  Lovani was subsequently withdrawn by order of the Stewards prior to the race.’’