Former Godolphin trainer John O’Shea has vehemently denied knowing a horse in the stable had strangles while the organisation’s ex managing director Henry Plumptre has accepted responsibility for his part in the case.
O’Shea, who resigned as head trainer for Godolphin in late April, pleaded not guilty to being a party to Plumptre being in breach of the rules regarding the non-disclosure of strangles confirmed in the colt Polemic in August last year.
He also pleaded not guilty at a resumed inquiry on Friday to giving false evidence to Racing NSW stewards in an interview and at the initial inquiry in June.
“I’m extremely disappointed to be charged for giving false evidence,” O’Shea said.
“It’s not in my nature to make false or misleading statements.”
O’Shea said he only had one conversation about Polemic with Plumptre and vet Dr Trevor Robson in early August 2016 and said he was told Polemic was exhibiting symptoms of strangles but not that the horse was confirmed to have the infectious respiratory disease.
Robson told stewards he had informed the trainer of the positive test on August 4 and again had a conversation with O’Shea and Plumptre the following day.
Friday’s inquiry also heard an email was sent at 1.41pm on August 4 from the laboratory to a group of Godolphin employees, including O’Shea and Robson, confirming the positive strangles test.
Plumptre earlier apologised and accepted he had broken the rule, saying he was under pressure at the time dealing with a serious bullying issue at Godolphin’s Osborne Park facility as part of his over-arching responsibilities at Godolphin.
He said he hoped stewards would consider his overall record when it came to penalty and he hoped to re-establish himself as a bloodstock agent after resigning his position at Godolphin last week.
“In considering penalty I would like you to consider my 40 years in the thoroughbred industry,” Plumptre said.
“At the time of the Polemic incident I was dealing with a serious bullying issue at Osborne Park.
“I noticed there was a strong reluctance from the training team to report it and I agreed to monitor the colt.
“At the time did I consider the bullying issue to be of more importance? The answer would be yes and I acknowledge that would be wrong. It’s of great disappointment to me that I failed in this instance.”
“I have breached a rule of racing. It is a matter of great disappointment I failed in this instance.”
Stewards adjourned the inquiry to consider the evidence and submissions.