Victorian trainer Danny O’Brien has been disqualified for four years and Mark Kavanagh three years for administering cobalt to racehorses.
Vet Tom Brennan, who pleaded guilty to all but five of the charges against him, has been disqualified for five years.
The penalties were handed down by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board on Wednesday.
O’Brien says he is pleased they can now take the matter to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to launch an appeal.
“It’s been a long 12 months and certainly some of this process has been less than satisfactory,” he said after the board handed down its findings.
O’Brien and Kavanagh will go directly to VCAT to seek a stay of proceedings.
The trainers, along with Brennan, were found guilty in December of the administration of cobalt for the purpose of affecting the performance of a horse in a race.
Four O’Brien-trained horses and the Kavanagh-trained Magicool returned levels of cobalt above the 200 micrograms per litre of urine threshold in 2014.
Counsel for the trainers, Damian Sheales, has compared the proceedings against his clients to the Salem witch trials.
O’Brien on Wednesday reiterated his criticisms of Racing Victoria’s handling of the investigation into elevated cobalt levels.
“We’ve raised some real issues about how this scenario’s played out over the last 12 months,” he said.
“We still haven’t had any answers … the chief integrity officer has gone missing.”
The trainers hope by going to VCAT they will be able to subpoena and question officials.
O’Brien has expressed disappointment that counsel was unable to cross examine Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey and Dion Villella, from RV’s Compliance and Assurance Team, during the seven-day hearing into the charges against them.
“At the end of the day they’re really only holding back the tide for when we get to VCAT and everything is examined properly in a real, adult court,” O’Brien said.