The Victorian trainers facing cobalt charges won’t be allowed to receive any prizemoney earned from Group or Listed races in this state until their cases are resolved.


Racing Victoria stewards handed down the decision on Monday afternoon as a result of the show cause hearings of Peter MoodyDanny O’BrienMark Kavanagh and father-son combination Lee and Shannon Hope held last Wednesday.


It means the trainers’ percentage of prizemoney earned, normally 10 percent, will be held by Racing Victoria until their cases are heard by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board.


The trainers will forfeit that money if they are found guilty of deliberately administering the prohibited substance cobalt.


O’Brien and Kavanagh will appeal the decision, while Moody will meet with his legal team on Wednesday to discuss the situation.


RV chairman of stewards Terry Bailey says this is an important step in ensuring the image of racing isn’t undermined.


“We’re all about protecting the industry and the reputation of the sport, particularly heading into the (spring carnival),” Bailey said.


“We’re of the view they ought not be allowed to profit during that period.


“In our view it’s the appropriate measure to take. We’re talking about Group and Listed races only, the ‘bread and butter’ races so to speak... the trainers are able to continue to gain a living by being part of those races.”


After the show cause hearings, RV stewards formed the opinion that the continued participation of each trainer might undermine the image of racing because of the serious nature of the charges and that the case against each one is strong.


Having come to that conclusion, the stewards noted four key points.

- Each trainer intends to defend the serious charges against them.
- Each trainer’s business is large and dire consequences would likely follow for them, their business and their employees if their license was suspended pending the hearing.
- That a negative message would be sent to the racing public if each trainer was permitted to continue to profit from major races that attract national and international attention.
- That in order to address the negative impact on the image of racing by the continued participation of the trainers, it is appropriate protective action is taken by the stewards

WATCH: Feature prizemoney freeze



The trainers’ lawyers were notified of the decision on Monday and are able to appeal to the RAD Board up until 5pm on Thursday.


If the trainers are part-owners of a horse, they will be permitted to receive their owners’ share of the prizemoney.


The rational for that is because if they get suspended, it doesn’t exclude them from racing horses.


Bailey thinks the decision strikes a balance in such a delicate situation.


“The stewards see elevated cobalt levels as a serious breach of the rules of racing and given the number and profile of trainers involved it has placed significant global attention on Victorian racing and the image and conduct of our sport,” Bailey said.


“The stewards consider that racing’s interests are best served by safeguarding the reputation and image of racing, particularly in races which attract significant national and international attention.


“The order to retain in trust each trainer’s percentage in prizemoney earned in Group and Listed races in Victoria pending the hearing of their serious charges in necessary to protect the image of racing.


“The stewards believe this sends and appropriate message to the wider racing industry and public that trainers will not profit from major races when serious offence charges laid against them are still to be tried.”


This is the first time these ‘show cause’ rules have been used since they were put in place following the case against jockey Damien Oliver.


In 2012, the champion hoop admitted to betting $10,000 on a horse he was competing against at Moonee Valley two years earlier. He was eventually disqualified for eight months.


While that case was being decided, it was acknowledged stewards needed the power to stand participants down if their ongoing participation was prejudicial to the interests and image of racing.


Each of the trainers were asked to show cause as to why their licences shouldn’t be suspended pending the hearing of their respective cobalt charges.


Bailey makes no apologies for the hardline stance his team has taken and says he needs to protect the integrity of the sport.


“It’s disappointing that racing is facing these sort of situations but at the end of the day, we’re all about a level playing field,” he said.


“Trainers get up at 3 o’clock in the morning seven days a week, they’re entitled to go to the races and be (competing) on a level playing field and that’s what our job is all about.”

In total, RV stewards have issued 52 cobalt charges against the trainers and Flemington Equine Clinic vet Dr Tom Brennan.

WATCH: Cobalt show cause announcement