$600 in Bonus Bets
Get your first bet matched with up to $600 in racing bonuses*
$500 in Bonus Bets
Sign-up, Join now & get your first deposit matched with up to $500 in racing bonus bets*
Deposit $250, Bet with $550
Sign-up, deposit $250 & receive $300 in racing bonus bets. That's $550 to bet with!*
Deposit $20, Bet with $120
Sign-up, deposit $20 & receive $100 in racing bonus bets. That's $120 to bet with!*
$300 Matched Deposit
Sign-up and get your first deposit matched with up to $300 in racing bonus bets*
*Conditions Apply. Excl VIC, NSW, SA & WA. Gamble Responsibly
*Conditions Apply. Excl VIC, NSW, SA & WA. Gamble Responsibly

At least one of the Aquanita eight plans to keep fighting as the five trainers and three stablehands face potentially career-ending penalties over the cheating conspiracy.

Multiple Group One-winning trainer Robert Smerdon and float driver Greg Nelligan potentially face life bans for being key players in the biggest scandal in Australian racing history.

A Victorian tribunal described Smerdon as the driving force behind the conspiracy along with Nelligan, who, although considerably lower down the chain of command, seemed to have been the architect and to some extent the promoter of the top-ups scheme.

The Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board on Tuesday found all eight people charged were part of the conspiracy, at least from time to time and with varying degrees of involvement.

Queensland trainer Liam Birchley was devastated by the guilty verdict and will appeal, his lawyer Travis Schultz said.

“We strongly believe the stewards did not have sufficient evidence to support their case and Mr Birchley continues to maintain the charges were unsubstantiated,” Schultz said.

He says an appeal will be lodged as soon as the RAD Board hearing concludes.

The three-member board will hear submissions on Thursday before imposing penalties, likely the same day.

The penalties could include disqualification and warning off over what the tribunal said was a long-running systematic conspiracy to try to obtain an unfair advantage in more than 100 races over seven years.

The board said there had been the clearest of breaches of the Australian racing rule in question as it found trainers Smerdon, Birchley, Stuart Webb, Tony Vasil and Trent Pennuto and stable employees Nelligan, his wife Denise and Daniel Garland guilty.

“There has been dishonest, corrupt or fraudulent, improper or dishonourable actions of the highest order,” chair Judge John Bowman said.

Nelligan and Smerdon face the harshest penalties after the driver administered illegal top-ups to horses 123 times over seven years and the trainer was a party to them on 115 occasions.

The Nelligans have already been warned off meaning they cannot set foot on any racecourse or facility relating to racehorses in Victoria.

Smerdon handed in his trainer’s licence in March and ceased being a director and shareholder of management company Aquanita Racing, which had links to all eight people who were found guilty.

Birchley was the only one to give evidence, but the RAD Board did not accept him as a witness of truth and found he was a “non-paying customer” of the top-ups service.

Queensland racing authorities are understood to be waiting for a penalty to be handed down before making any announcement about Birchley.

RV chief executive Giles Thompson said the issue of penalties was up to the stewards but the offences were very serious and should be penalised appropriately.

“We have measures, penalties at our disposal that can get to life bans and other significant fines as well – that will be considered as all part of the mix.”

The disqualification of any horses will also likely be discussed on Thursday.

Deposit $50, Bet with $200
Get $150 in Racing Bonus Bets when you join and deposit $50!*
*Conditions Apply. Excl VIC, NSW, SA & WA. Gamble Responsibly
Featured News

Over $5,000 in Free Racing Bonus Bets

Just Horse Racing provides readers with a Free list of the best Bonus Bet offers available at every online bookmaker...

Crikey! Top jockey sidelined by crocodile bite

Victorian jockey Chris Symons will be out of action for more than a week after being bitten by a 1.4-metre crocodile....

WATCH: Irish jockey holds on to score incredible win

Irish jockey Mikey Sweeney has held on to score possibly the most remarkable win you’ll see all year during a...

Brad Rawiller nearing return to riding

Multiple Group One-winning jockey Brad Rawiller is hoping it is only a matter of weeks before he can get back...

Winx returns in Rosehill barrier trial

Champion mare Winx has returned with a successful barrier trial at Rosehill this morning. The four-time Cox Plate winner didn’t...

Copyright © 2018 Just Horse Racing.
All rights reserved - Privacy Policy

Gamble Responsibly 18+
*State exclusions apply to some offers. Please check T&Cs of each offer with the bookmaker. All Offers Exclude NSW residents.