Kavanagh denies deflecting cobalt blame

Disqualified trainer Sam Kavanagh has denied trying to deflect blame to two vets to get a lesser sentence in his cobalt case.

Kavanagh appeared as a witness before the Racing NSW Appeal Panel for a second day on Tuesday as he and vets Tom Brennan and Adam Matthews fight disqualifications.

The original inquiry was sparked by high cobalt levels and caffeine found in post-race swabs from the Kavanagh-trained Midsummer Sun after he won the Gosford Gold Cup in January, 2015.

Kavanagh has admitted to using race-day drenches after Matthews put him in touch with harness racing identity John Camilleri who has been disqualified for organising them.

Stephen Rushton, appearing for Matthews, suggested Kavanagh had fabricated the vet’s involvement in the drenches to shift blame from himself.

“It makes no difference to my penalty,” Kavanagh said.

“Race-day treatment has a minimum penalty (three years) and it’s not going to change that.

“I’m just here to tell the truth.”

Kavanagh has been outed for nine years over the drenches and the elevated cobalt levels found in swabs taken from Midsummer Sun after he won the Gosford Gold Cup.

After he found out about Midsummer Sun’s caffeine positive but before he learned of the high cobalt level, Racing Victoria stewards announced Melbourne trainers Peter Moody, Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh, Sam’s father, had horses with elevated cobalt readings.

Kavanagh said he then became concerned because he, his father and O’Brien shared the same veterinary practice, Flemington Equine Clinic, at which Brennan was a partner and Matthews an employee.

“I had heard that trainers were using a new vitamin product and it was working well,” he said.

“I got two bottles from Dr Brennan but when I heard of the positives in Melbourne I asked about the Vitamin Complex and whether it contained cobalt because I was worried.”

When he was told of the cobalt levels, Kavanagh consulted a lawyer who advised him to come clean with stewards about his source of Vitamin Complex which was analysed and found to contain high levels of cobalt.

He named Brennan as the source of the Vitamin Complex while Brennan has in turn told a Racing Victoria inquiry it was supplied by Matthews.

Brennan has also been disqualified by Victorian authorities for his involvement in the cases against O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh who are appealing respective four-year and three-year bans.

Cobalt is found in vitamin B products but can be toxic in high doses.


Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au

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