Racing: Cobalt case: $1000 a bottle 'is ridiculous'

Sam Kavanagh will have 24 cobalt charges against him heard at the same inquiry next month. Photo / Thinkstock
Sam Kavanagh will have 24 cobalt charges against him heard at the same inquiry next month. Photo / Thinkstock

Paying $1000 for a bottle of vitamin complex is ridiculous and clearly suspicious, a racehorse vet told a cobalt inquiry yesterday.

But Flemington Equine Clinic partner Dr Ian Church denies lying to NSW stewards when he said there was nothing untoward about the bottle found in trainer Sam Kavanagh's home.

Church is giving evidence in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal as Mark Kavanagh and fellow Victorian trainer Danny O'Brien try to overturn their cobalt disqualifications.

The appeal hearing has been told vet Dr Tom Brennan, Church's partner in the clinic, sent the bottle labelled vitamin complex - later found to contain massive quantities of cobalt - to Kavanagh's son, Sydney trainer Sam Kavanagh.

Racing Victoria barrister Jeff Gleeson QC has said Brennan eventually cracked and admitted O'Brien and Mark Kavanagh paid him $3000 for three bottles.

Church yesterday agreed with Gleeson that there would be no reason to pay $1000 for a bottle of vitamins, which the vet said would normally cost around $20-$50.

Dr Amy Kelly, a former Sydney-based vet with Flemington Equine, has said she angrily told Church in February 2015 to tell Brennan to own up to what had happened and that her name was being tarnished.

Church told Kelly "it's all going to be fine" and "I think it's best you forget about the bottle".

Church admitted he probably did tell her to forget about it. "I didn't suggest to Amy Kelly to specifically not tell the truth," he said later.

VCAT heard Church told a NSW stewards' inquiry: "I said I certainly didn't think there was anything untoward in the bottle."

Gleeson asked Church if that was a lie, but the vet said he believed at that stage it was just vitamins in the bottle and it could have contained expensive products that were not prohibited substances.


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