Australia’s biggest race the Melbourne Cup has been rocked by a doping scandal with trainers from the Aquanita partnership at the forefront of the allegations.
An investigation is set to be taken into text messages which were published by The Herald Sun suggesting trainers Liam Birchley, Robert Smerdon and stablehand Greg Nelligan strategically organised ‘Top Up’s to horses in lead up to races.
Treatment of horses on race day is banned and carries hefty penalties to those involved with the whole investigation being sparked when stablehand Greg Nelligan was caught illegally treating Lovani whilst Winx was parading ahead of the Turnbull Stakes.
In some of the text messages it is understood that Melbourne Cup horses were involved in the doping.
“Can u org a top up for tomorrow pls,” a text from Birchley says.
“Roberts [ordered] five, I’ll need a wheelbarrow to carry them all,” responds Nelligan.
Nelligan also messages: “I’ll be walking funny, got two cup horses as well. Don’t tell Robert.”
G1 VRC Oaks winner Mosheen was also caught up in the text message exchanges between the three
Nelligan asks Smerdon: “Does Mosheen have a guard?”
Smerdon replies: “No. Want to topup her and Stoneblack only.”
Since the investigation started in total Eight people including three Group 1-winning trainers have been charged with 271 counts of breaching racing rules relating to illegal race day treatment.
Senior Judge John Bowmanhas declared the inquiry could become the biggest racing inquiry in Victorian history.