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Fartoomuch

Smerdon Walks Away

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Robert Smerdon, the trainer at the centre of the Aquanita doping scandal, is walking away from racing and will not take part in the upcoming inquiry.

Smerdon revealed to Racenet that “no, I won’t be attending full stop” the inquiry into the 115 charges he is facing over the alleged systematic and illegal use of alkalising agents on horses which dates back to 2010.

Smerdon was one of eight people facing a total of 271 charges laid by Racing Victoria stewards following their investigations which commenced after his stablehand Greg Nelligan was alleged to have broken race-day treatment rules on Lovani at Flemington prior to the mare's scheduled race on Turnbull Stakes day in October last year.

“It just seems the right time to retire,” Smerdon said.

“Following the commencement of the current inquiry, I voluntarily stood down from training which I believed was in the best interests of the industry.

“A consequence of standing down was that my entire racing infrastructure has been dispersed – training facilities, staff, horses and clients have all been designated to other trainers.”

“I realise that none of these lost resources could readily be recouped, be it now or at some point in the future.

“I am 63 and the thought of possibly starting again from scratch seems an unrealistic prospect so the decision has been taken that it is time for me to move on.”

Smerdon acknowledges that he has been “tarnished" by recent events and said he is “deeply saddened by that” but wouldn't comment on the matter that has ended his time in racing.

“I’ve just come to appreciate my time has come,” he said.

The Aquanita inquiry is set to resume on April 30 but will have to proceed without the two most central figures, Smerdon and accused doper Greg Nelligan refusing to take part.

At a directions hearing last month, Lawyer Paul O’Sullivan, representing Nelligan, who faces 123 charges and his wife Denise, told the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board chairman Judge John Bowman “they (the Nelligans) will take no part in the hearing.”

Others facing charges are Smerdon’s fellow former Aquanita trainers Tony Vasil, Stuart Webb, Trent Pennuto and Liam Birchley as well as another member of his former staff, Daniel Garland.

  Racenet

I wonder how many of the others will do the same and if so doesnt that render the inquiry a non event

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So it sounds like there is no way to require attendance by way of a summons for this type of hearing?

If the hearing does not take place - or certain people refuse to take part - what are the options for sanctions against that person?  Surely there must be a consequence for that eg. lifetime disqualification?

WIthout such a provision the process becomes a farce.  An analogy I can think of is if you are caught for suspected drink-dirivng and you refuse to take the breath or blood tests - you get dragged to court and face a charge related to your refusal - and the penalty is as if you had were proven to have been over the limit ie: giving the middle finger to the system does not get you off the hook ...

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They’re only bound by the rules of racing, not the law of the land.

Given the ongoing abuse of power, authority and resources by the Victorian Racing authorities, think Moody, O’Brien and Kavanagh, I’m seeing this as a situation whereby Smerdon will be asking himself this.

”If I fight this it’ll cost me hundreds of thousands in legal fees, and Racing Victoria seem to have an appetite for litigation, in a nasty and vindictive manner, so the choice is to fight for a largely unproductive career or walk away, save a lot of money, and retire to sleep in, play golf, and enjoy long lunches with family and friends”.

I doubt it took him long to make his mind up.

 

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If you read the full article you would have seen that he has dispersed all his infrastructure and horses are elsewhere.  That is he has not carried on his business.

If he was successful in defending himself then he would have had to start from scratch again.  That coupled with the legal fees you can understand at age 63 he has raised the middle finger.

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2A2 - yes I can read ;) - the article did not say when he stopped.  What I was wanting to know was whether the enquiry or pending hearing had provided any impediment to him carrying on as usual.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, scooby3051 said:

But IF he did stomach tube the horses or his staff did on his instructions is that no different than what Warner and Smith did???? He has cheated to win.... IF it is proven he should cop some punishment, not just walk away...in my opinion its not a good look.

I’m unaware of any evidence of tubing, but do tell me more.

All I read was administration of an alkalinising agent, that could be a simple OTC oral paste 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, poundforpound said:

I’m unaware of any evidence of tubing, but do tell me more.

All I read was administration of an alkalinising agent, that could be a simple OTC oral paste 

 

 

But if anything was given illegally in any form its not a good look and must be classed as cheating...

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7 minutes ago, scooby3051 said:

But if anything was given illegally in any form its not a good look and must be classed as cheating...

Nothing has been proven.

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55 minutes ago, scooby3051 said:

You really always have to be a dick... never said he did it I said IF IF IF he did, time will tell as the evidence comes out if he did or didn't. 

Well obviously you don't apply the same standards to the harness forum "do you think"?

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1 hour ago, Robert Best said:

This is the same as the Wexford farm manager, who would not appear.

So nothing was said that might have   messed with the defence of the cobalt in the troughs?

And the valuable, highly strung derby thorougjbreds hanging out amongst his  dairy cows, contained by most unsuitable single electic wire fences, rolling in cow pats, risking colic as they gorged on lush annual rye grass pasture, braving whatever the elements threw at them despite being accustomed to the luxury of a cosy stable,  and having their elegant silken tails chewed by curious bovines as they napped on sunny afternoons ....

THAT farm manager Robert? .... 

 

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Q: Has Smerdon made any direct statement to the effect that he's done nothing illegal but has decided it's too costly to defend the charges so he's retiring?

If it were me, I'd defend my integrity this way (directly deny wrongdoing) rather than walk away without stating my innocence.

Q: If he had chosen to appear - and subsequently been vindicated - could he sue the authorities?

 

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If you don't know ALL the facts then why bother commenting on Smerdon's decision to retire from racing and thus avoid or decide to not appear at the inquiry into the alleged systematic doping? There's a lot of history going back 50 years, most of which nobody has a clue. By not appearing, he's saving the Industry a fortune in Legal Fees, yet the Industry gets a result - he's not training anymore. He's therefore doing the Industry a favour. I wouldn't be comparing this incident with the Moody case. Moody was charged for presenting "one" horse which had an elevated reading, one which a few years earlier was legal in Victoria. One horse, over how many years of having 150 - 200 horses in work? He was hard-done by. The Aquanita story is a long way from the Moody case. JMO. 

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38 minutes ago, Trump said:

If you don't know ALL the facts then why bother commenting on Smerdon's decision to retire from racing and thus avoid or decide to not appear at the inquiry into the alleged systematic doping? There's a lot of history going back 50 years, most of which nobody has a clue. By not appearing, he's saving the Industry a fortune in Legal Fees, yet the Industry gets a result - he's not training anymore. He's therefore doing the Industry a favour. I wouldn't be comparing this incident with the Moody case. Moody was charged for presenting "one" horse which had an elevated reading, one which a few years earlier was legal in Victoria. One horse, over how many years of having 150 - 200 horses in work? He was hard-done by. The Aquanita story is a long way from the Moody case. JMO. 

Come on, wake up. 

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