One of the stewards who raided a Flemington stable occupied by a horse trained by Con Karakatsanis had approached the situation with a pre-conceived notion that the trainer was “up to no good”.
Karakatsanis and his father Tony face charges resulting from the raid during which stewards found equipment used for stomach tubing a racehorse in the stall occupied by the horse Howmuchdoyouloveme.
Steward Kane Ashby gave evidence on Monday at a hearing before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board that he had covertly observed Con Karakatsanis, his father and two other men in the stable complex.
He told the Board he heard Karakatsanis talk about “looking after the gate” to the stables and saying he would telephone his father if any problems arose.
Karakatsanis counsel James Tobin suggested Ashby hadn’t heard the words he testified to in their full context and had applied his own interpretation to them based on a view that something improper was to happen.
“That view shaped your whole outlook,” Tobin told Ashby.
“You have drawn inferences at every step that were adverse.
“You brought a suspicious mind to the stable.”
Ashby rejected the suggestion, saying he observed Con Karakatsanis acting suspiciously before the tubing equipment was discovered.
The Board heard Ashby and fellow steward Dion Villela had gone to the stable after being tipped off that Howmuchdoyouloveme, who was due to race a few hours later, was to be tubed within the prohibited period before it ran.
Tobin disputed Karakatsanis and his father intended to tube the horse before the race at Flemington on November 3.
He said the pair had only a 10-minute time frame in which to perform the alleged procedure, a period that was insufficient for the task.
Tony Karakatsanis has admitted placing the bag containing the tubing equipment in the horse’s box, but said he did so in the mistaken belief the bag contained hay.
He said the tubing gear had been on the premises so Howmuchdoyouloveme could be given a saline drench after it raced.
The inquiry is continuing.