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FOR the second time this year, the tight-knit racing community at Caulfield was in mourning after trackrider Friederike Ruhle was killed in a freak accident early on Wednesday morning, the second such death at the racecourse in six months.

PATRICK BARTLEY and NINO BUCCI report for THE AGE that the German-born rider, a trackrider for local trainer Byron Cozamanis, was going through her normal work routines until around 5:30am when she fell from her mount.

The 24-year-old was firstly treated by the on-course ambulance but news of the seriousness of the crash soon spread across the track.

An ambulance arrived and hopes of a recovery grew. But just hours later word filtered through that Ms Ruhle had died moments after arriving at the Alfred Hospital.  

Her grandparents in Sydney were contacted, as were others members of the family around the world.

No one is sure how the fall occurred. Caulfield racecourse is a busy and often hectic place.

Racing officials said Victoria Police and Worksafe had inspected the track near where the incident happened as part of their investigation into the death.

A local trainer said it had been dark when the rider fell, meaning it was difficult to determine exactly where the accident had happened.

It is the second such death in recent times. Sadly for those at Caulfield, just six months ago they lost  English rider Liz Rice, who was found unconscious after falling from a horse at the equine swimming pool at the course.

As with Ms Ruhle, early reports were positive for the Briton. Recovery was very much on the cards.

With her parents flying in from London to  be part of a beside vigil, hopes were rising that she would overcome her injuries.

However Rice lost her battle, never recovering from the terrible injuries incurred that morning at Caulfield racecourse.

Female trackriders now very much outnumber their male counterparts.

According to friends and family, Ms Ruhle just "adored" her job because it entailed being with horses.

"You know tens of thousands of horses are worked every day of the year around the world and accidents like this are very minimal," one trainer said.

"But when it happens, it's tragic and heartbreaking but more so a stark and cold reminder of what dangers lie ahead for those who handle racehorses."

Those in the racing industry know the dangers all too well, and while racing is a fiercely competitive sport, all involved will be galvanised by the loss of one of their own.



PETER DAVID of the GOLD COAST made this interesting contribution to the WEDNESDAY WHINGE:

‘I can recall when Racing Queensland was asked what seemed to be a legitimate question about the new funding arrangement for Magic Millions. My memory recollects that the CEO, Darren Condon, responded that it was none of the industry’s business.

Well, as a result of the industry being kept in the dark and the continuing blinding avalanche of good news, the industry is broke. Yes, it is likely it will need a loan as it is struggling to pay its bills on time.

Will the stakeholders cough up?

Magic Millions maybe, perhaps the owners, perhaps the Dixon supporters, including the journalists that pedalled the misinformation!

I contrast the mismanagement of the Dixon administration with that which was brought to the table by the Bentley crew. For example, the Dixon administration was loved by the industry. Lavish amounts of prize money, significant handouts to Magic Millions, more money for breeders so long as it comes from the infrastructure fund (not to worry it is a recurring cost), let the BRC have a $12 million loan (don’t worry that they can’t fund the repayments) and so on it goes. The end result is gross financial mismanagement and a CFO, Adam Carter, preparing to present a budget deficit of $21 million for FY16.

Bentley’s lot was in the gun to be sacked by the LNP. They were unpopular. But they delivered numerous consecutive surpluses for the industry, they commenced buying back key assets for the industry, they had a vision for metropolitan racing, they established an administrative structure admired interstate, they convinced the Government to establish an infrastructure fund, they funded integrity appropriately, they maintained a strong balance sheet, they maintained strong cash reserves, but they did not cow tow to every industry sector. They took a balanced view and when they made decisions the Board understood the business imperatives of the decision. Yes, Bentley’s lot was unpopular but why?

I don’t recall them being a particularly difficult team to deal with. The Board seemed to have a fair balance of experience. The senior admin crew seemed to know what they were doing and also had a bit of experience.

In addition to this, the Bentley lot was heavily scrutinized with what can only be described as the most detailed series of audits ever faced by an entity in this country. At around the time the LNP were misled and called the now infamous ‘White Inquiry’ the Bentley lot had already been examined by the Police, the CMC, the Queensland Audit Office, Deloitte, and Adam Carter the acting CEO. Sometime earlier, the organization underwent two Commissions of Inquiry and then was forced to endure the propped up ‘White Inquiry’ which provided ASIC with a report that shamed the size of the white pages from the 1980s.

ASIC again entered the audit fray and after spending about three years carefully considering the recommendations from the Queensland Audit Office and the White Inquiry, gave the Bentley crew a clean bill of health. Probably a candidate for the Guinness Book of Records most audited organization in this country’s history.

Contrast this with the Dixon administration. One inquiry and what has occurred – four sacked Boards, a CEO stood down, the Chief Integrity Officer stood down, and a financial wreck that will cost the industry dearly and take some recovering from.

Give me the lot that has been examined up hill and down dale and a few more of those annual surpluses please, as I would like to be in this industry for a while yet.’



THE Ballarat, Bendigo and Cranbourne Cups will be each worth $300,000 this year as Racing Victoria tries to enhance the regional racing program for the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.

TOM BIDDINGTON reports for that the increases, worth a quarter of a million dollars, bring the trio in line with the Geelong Cup as country features carrying purses of $300,000.

The boosts have been facilitated by a combination of Racing Victoria and club funding to lift the profile of the events and incentivise future participation.

-              Listed TAB Cranbourne Cup (2025m), 11 October (up from $200,000)

-              Group 3 Jayco Bendigo Cup (2400m), 28 October (up from $250,000)

-              Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m), 21 November (up from $200,000).

“To have prizemoney lifted to $300,000 for each of the Cranbourne, Bendigo and Ballarat Cups is a fantastic achievement for the respective clubs and is testament to the importance of these races to Victoria’s Spring Racing Carnival,” RV racing operations manager Paul Bloodworth said.

“The increased prizemoney further strengthens and reinforces Victoria’s position as the premier state for staying races.

“It will assist in further growing these races and ensuring that they are supported by Australia’s premier trainers and jockeys, whilst remaining front of mind for international visitors also.”

The increases delight each of the respective clubs.

Ballarat Turf Club chief executive Lachlan McKenzie says it gives his club’s standalone Saturday meeting even more credibility.

“We are delighted with the announcement of the increase in prizemoney for the 2015 Ballarat Cup. The $300,000 prizemoney represents an increase of 50% on last year,” McKenzie said.

“This increase makes our cup one of the richest races in regional Australia, and will further increase the status and profile of our standalone Saturday race meeting.

“The increased prizemoney for our cup together with the Magic Millions Clockwise Classic and a great support card will ensure we have an outstanding day of racing.”

For Bendigo Jockey Club chief executive Jason Paech, it ensures the Bendigo Cup becomes more attractive as a lead-up run to the Melbourne Cup.

“The Bendigo Jockey Club has worked hard to come to this exciting point where the Jayco Bendigo Cup is positioned to be a legitimate option for horses aiming for the Emirates Melbourne Cup, now as a Group 3 race with the lure of a $300,000 purse,” Paech said.

“We sincerely thank Racing Victoria and Country Racing Victoria for working with us and investing in the proud history of our great race.”

The boost helps build a case for the Cranbourne Cup to get elevated to Group 3 level, according to Cranbourne Turf Club chief executive Neil Bainbridge.

“This increase further stakes Cranbourne’s claim as one of the country’s premier country cups and a significant event of the Spring Racing Carnival,” Bainbridge said.

“The TAB Cranbourne Cup has always been a popular lead-in race for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup and we hope this prizemoney boost will enhance that trend and further incentivise trainers to take that path.


“It has long been the club’s ambition to continually improve the quality of the Cranbourne Cup, and this will hopefully help us achieve that, as well as our aim to upgrade the race to Group status in the future.”



MINISTER for Racing Bill Byrne has confirmed the State Government will deliver the improved Queensland Thoroughbred Incentive Scheme (QTIS) for 2015/2016 in a huge boost for the Queensland racing industry.

Minister Byrne said he had met with key stakeholder groups within the racing industry and was pleased to be able to deliver the improvements, which will see more than $10 million in bonuses up on offer for registered QTIS horses.

“QTIS plays a vital in improving returns to participants in the racing industry and attracting investment in the Queensland thoroughbred industry,” Minister Byrne said.

“It will assist in securing the industry’s viability, as well as the future of thousands of jobs in the state’s breeding industry.

“Since the Animal Welfare issues within the greyhound racing industry came to light, I have been committed to restoring confidence and integrity back into Racing Queensland, and today this is a positive step in the right direction.  

“I am pleased to say that we will deliver those changes in full, and in so doing, deliver a scheme that ranks Queensland high on the list of the nation’s top breeding schemes.”

Under the new scheme, breeders who register their yearlings for QTIS will receive a six per cent breeders’ bonus for the winner of a QTIS race, while a new fillies and mares bonus marks a 50 per cent increase on the standard bonus.

The following improvements will take effect from August 1, 2015:

  • All 2YO and 3YO races in Queensland will become part of the QTIS program.
  • A fillies and mares bonus will be introduced, providing a 50 per cent increase to the standard bonus.
    • This will be applicable to 2YO fillies from August 2015, 2YO and 3YO in 2016 and 2YO, 3YO and 4YOmin 2017.
  • Free racing for all QTIS registered 2YOs in the state for 2015, then for 2YO and 3YO from 2016.
  • Breeders will receive 6 per cent of the QTIS bonus for the winner of all QTIS races in Queensland.
  • An additional $150,000 QTIS race at the Gold Coast coinciding with the March QTIS sale, which will be open to QTIS horses of any age.
  • The addition of selected 4YO races for QTIS horses across the state, with a particular focus on regional Queensland.

Racing Queensland Acting Chief Executive Officer Ian Hall said the changes had sparked significant in Queensland racing from owners, breeders and trainers alike.

“The outstanding results we have seen at recent sales, particularly the Magic Millions March sale, showed just how important these changes are for the Queensland racing industry,” Mr Hall said.

“These improvements will continue to give our breeders and other participants the incentive to invest in Queensland horses and ultimately contribute to a sustainable future for the industry in Queensland.”



THE Queensland Government has asked for Racing Queensland CEO Darren Condon to be removed from his position in the wake of the greyhound live baiting scandal.

BRISBANETIMES.COM.AU reports that Mr Condon, a popular figure within Queensland Racing, was asked to show cause on June 2 as to why he should remain as head of the state's racing body, following a report into the live-baiting scandal within the greyhound racing industry.

At the same time, the government abolished all boards associated with the state's racing industry as well as establishing a new integrity authority to oversee the industry.

Mr Condon (pictured above right) had written to the government outlining why he should remain in his role, but Bill Byrne, the minister responsible for racing, said after "genuine consideration" he had recommended Mr Condon be removed as CEO.

"Mr Condon was informed of this decision yesterday," Mr Byrne said in a statement on Friday.

"Mr Ian Hall of KPMG will remain as the Acting CEO of Racing Queensland.

"I have taken this decision based on the best interests of racing, the welfare of all animals and the integrity of the sport."

The MacSporran inquiry into Queensland's racing industry was launched in response to a Four Corners and Animal Liberation expose on alleged live-baiting in the greyhound industry.

More than 20 Queensland greyhound trainers have been banned for life from the sport including two greyhound hall of farmers.

Twenty-three trainers are facing criminal charges.



RACING Queensland Stewards have engaged CASA certified drone operator Droneit Group to trial patrols of greyhound training premises and kennels as part of its push towards improved integrity measures in the racing industry.

Stewards began testing drones late last year with a view to using the technology to obtain footage during race meetings, however the trial has now been extended to include kennel inspections as part of the integrity program.

Racing Queensland General Manager Legal Services and Strategy Sam Adams said the drones could fly at a height of up to 120m by a contracted operator in possession of the necessary CASA drone certifications and could be used to inspect any property used in conjunction with the training of greyhounds.

“This is one of a number of measures implemented to expand our integrity capabilities but it is by far the most progressive,” Mr Adams said.

“The operator will fly the drone over the properties, obtain the footage and provide it for the Stewards to review. Obviously if an individual is breaking the law or the rules of racing, they will then be dealt with by the Stewards.

“This will be a very useful tool in policing the sport, particularly in relation to training practices, and is another example of Racing Queensland’s commitment to ridding the industry of live-baiting.”

Racing Minister Bill Byrne said he welcomed the use of drones to assist Stewards to carry out their inspections on greyhound trainer’s properties.

“The use of drones will see Queensland leading the rest of the country when it comes to Stewards carrying out their inspections,” Minister Byrne said.

“Ensuring the stewards have every tool necessary to carry out a thorough investigation of greyhound trainers properties is paramount to restoring integrity and public confidence back to racing within Queensland.”

Droneit Group Managing Director Lee Carseldine, who has been assisting with the trial, said the drones were an efficient way to carry out the surveillance and race day activity.

“We are seeing drones used more and more in both the sporting and corporate world and there is no doubt they could be extremely useful in a number of different aspects of racing operations,” he said.

“At the moment we are working with Racing Queensland to develop a platform from which we will be able to assist them in both race day and out of competition operation.”

Participants have been notified of the trials, which will continue in the coming months and be constantly reviewed.



THE blackout on Victorian racing will, as expected, be lifted on Friday when Seven West Network begins showing a live feed of the state's race meetings on Channel 78.

However, PATRICK BARTLEY reports in THE AGE, there is still no end in sight to the stalemate with former racing carrier Sky Channel.

The blackout lasted for 10 days,  stopping punters watching live races in Victoria. Seven will receive the feed from from midday on Friday after Racing Victoria paid $12 million to the network and agreed to share the advertising spoils. 

Racing Victoria remains hopeful of a deal with Tabcorb, owner of Sky, that would enable race meetings in Victoria to be screened alongside those in other states on Sky Racing 1. Talks with the wagering giant are continuing but insiders believe the asking price in excess of $10 million is extravagant, and that the settlement figure could be closer to $3 million.

On August 29, it is expected the Seven Network's new Showcase channel will be launched, with a very different look from the ill-fated TVN.

TVN was one of the greatest embarrassments in Australian racing history and it was finally closed in August after joint owners NSW and Victoria dissolved their interests in it .

NSW have signed with Tabcorp for their rights. A recommendation by Racing Victoria Ltd to move into the Channel Seven deal was ratified by the RVL board but the decision is causing concern among some observers who believe beaming Victorian racing on a free-to-air channel, away from the Sky Channel dial where punters watch meetings in other states, could hurt the product rather than grow it. 

RVL officials are keen for the August 29 launch to include younger and newer on-air staff and are reluctant to hire presenters from  TVN. 

"We will not be regurgitating old faces from a failed brand and trying to reinvent them," one RVL official said.

However, RVL chief executive Bernard Saundry said discussions were continuing with Tabcorp, adding that Victorian racing would continue to be streamed live and free across computers, tablets and mobiles via

He also said the 92 retail TAB agencies would  keep vision of Victorian racing as it is subject to the joint venture agreement.



AN inquiry into cobalt doping has heard it is common for horses to be treated with formaldehyde - an embalming fluid - before racing, intensifying concerns about the horses' welfare.

PATRICK BARTLEY reports in THE AGE that the Racing NSW stewards inquiry, which resumes on onday, heard evidence from an associate veterinarian from Flemington Equine Clinic that it was common for FEC vets to administer the substance before horses galloped to prevent bleeding. 

Formaldehyde has no therapeutic place in horse medicine. 

Twin investigations in Victoria and NSW continue to expose a grubby underbelly in thoroughbred racing. 

Last Friday Racing NSW stewards, chaired by Ray Murrihy, continued their probe into the cobalt and caffeine positives returned by Sam Kavanagh's Gosford Cup winner, Midsummer Sun.

It was expected that Flemington Equine Clinic and its director Dr Tom Brennan would come under scrutiny after allegations of supplying cobalt, standover tactics and cash payments were levelled at Brennan on day one of the inquiry on June 5.

But the inquiry took another twist with startling admissions by Kavanagh that Midsummer Sun was injected and drenched only hours before his Gosford Cup win when the horse returned positives to cobalt and caffeine.

Even more damning was evidence that these treatments were given by disqualified trotting trainer Mitchell Butterfield. Kavanagh did not know what was in the drench, and Butterfield did not know what was in the injection syringe, although he was told it contained vitamin C and formaldehyde – embalming fluid.

It's not the first time disqualified harness trainers have been involved. In the long-running Darren Smith case in NSW that resulted in a 15-year disqualification from the sport, Smith admitted that he was supplied cobalt by a disqualified harness trainer.

Fairfax Media understands links to harness racing have been an avenue of investigation for Racing Victoria stewards probing the cobalt positives returned by Lee and Shannon Hope, Danny O'Brien, Mark Kavanagh and Peter Moody. Craig Demmler, a harness trainer and driver, has Victoria's only cobalt positive to date.

Sam Kavanagh admitted he had tested another banned substance, xenon gas. Fairfax Media exposed xenon gas as a threat to racing in an article in March, but until last Friday it was only rumoured to be used.

The inquiry also took evidence from Alan Thompson, one of Sam Kavanagh's owners. Stewards questioned Thompson about xenon and a Kavanagh horse Astro Avalanche. Thompson had sent Kavanagh a text "it's like that song Jumpin' Jack Flash it's a gas gas gas" – a reference to Astro Avalanche's next start in the Queensland Cup.  

Kavanagh has cooperated with the inquiry and told stewards he was desperate and misguided in his efforts to win. The co-operation between Racing Victoria and Racing NSW has helped both jurisdictions and the hope is it will clean up Australian racing.

In Victoria, the next step is a directions hearing into the Hope, Mark Kavanagh and O'Brien cobalt positives. The industry is also awaiting Racing Victoria stewards' decision on whether to charge top trainer Peter Moody over Lidari's cobalt positive.

Sam Kavanagh's co-operation has exposed highly concentrated "bootleg" cobalt being used for performance enhancement as a blood-doping drug. He also has told stewards he stopped dripping cobalt into his horses after many horses reacted badly to the drips.

Kavanagh's evidence is supported by overseas studies that have shown highly concentrated cobalt is toxic and horses react badly, sweating, colicking and some even collapsing. Overseas studies have also shown that normal cobalt supplements will not take a horse anywhere near the  Australian threshold of 200 micrograms per litre.

Victorian trainers will have to explain levels ranging from 290 to 670.



THOSE responsible for the decision today to stand down Racing Queensland General Manager Stewards and Integrity Operations Wade Birch pending a show cause why his services should be retained are being widely applauded.

There has been concern from many sections of the industry since the former Board returned Birch to duties reportedly ‘on his terms’ while the RQ CEO Darren Condon was seen to be thrown under a bus and forced to fight for his position.

The brief, three sentence Media Release from RQ today was music to the ears of many. It read:

RACING Queensland advises Mr Wade Birch this morning has been asked to show-cause as to why he should be retained in the position of General Manager Stewards and Integrity Operations.

Mr Birch has been stood down during this process.

In the interest of due process, Racing Queensland will be making no further comment at this time.

THE situation has been concerning to many who have been expressing their views to this website’s WEDNESDAY WHINGE. Here is an example of what we had planned to run tomorrow that has now been usurped by the Government or RQ doing the right thing:

AS I am associated with a BRISBANE STABLE and sometimes question the level playing field argument, I would ask that you just refer to me as JOHN K as I prefer not to be identified for obvious reasons:

‘IT has to be the most asked question in racing in Queensland since Kevin Dixon and his cronies were shown the door – but don’t expect to see any answers in the mainstream media.

Why has Head of Integrity and former Chief Steward, Wade Birch, been able to survive when the Racing Boards and more than likely the Chief Executive of RQ have been sacked?

Does the blame for this lack of action on ‘live baiting’ in the greyhound industry not rest squarely as the feet of the Chairman of the All Codes Board Kevin Dixon and even more importantly his Integrity First Lieutenant in Wade Birch?

How can Birch continue to hold down a job as Head of Integrity after the scathing report on inaction in policing this barbaric practice by the MacSporran Commission of Inquiry?

Whether he says he knew nothing about it or not the buck stops with him. After all he was the first to be stood down then returned to his job at the behest of a Board that appointed him Head of Integrity and was subsequently sacked.

The industry is hearing all these stories about Chief Steward Allan Reardon’s pending retirement at the end of the Winter Carnival and how Birch has told fellow stewards in a statewide hook-up that he will be reverting to that role. He has to be kidding and so does RQ – or the people now running it – if they allow that to happen.

The punters who invest their hard-earned on racing in Queensland have no confidence in Birch and some of the stewards’ panel. There should be no place for him in the restructure of the Integrity Department. In fact it’s hard to explain how he has survived to date. For that matter many are asking – what is he actually doing these days?

Insiders at the Deagon Bunker say the Dixon Board allowed him to return to work on his terms which were to make a cameo appearance at RQ headquarters a couple of days each week and then spend the rest of the time working out of his home base at the Sunshine Coast. This was all because – allegedly – he could not work with RQ CEO Darren Condon, who is no longer there. Some say Condon was taking him to task about his closeness to the then Chairman and some of the activities of the stewards.

What the hell is going on? If Integrity is the cornerstone of this whole shake-up of RQ, then the Racing Minister needs to address the Wade Birch situation forthwith and at least pigeon-hole him until the restructure is completed.

It isn’t a good look to have a Head of Integrity who is under a cloud and lacking total industry confidence still in charge after returning from holidays, taken at the most important time of the year (the Winter Carnival), with no-one sure just where he is working or what he is doing. Enough is enough!’



THERE has been action aplenty at both ends of North Queensland this week.

The sensational fall in the Rockhampton Cup on Saturday is subject to a lot of conjecture and at Cairns the state of Cannon Park is again a grave concern to all.

There are stressed out trainers seriously considering relocating with fears there may not be another meeting at Cairns before the carnivals that are due next month.

If then!

In Rockhampton there is a belief among some licensees, that the terrible fall in the Cup that saw top jockeys, Adrian Coome, Brad Stewart and up and comer Sairyn  Fawke come to grief, should never have happened.

The claim is that it may have been caused by the positioning of the false rail. If this is proven, there will be some serious considerations to be encountered outside racing jurisdictions.

At the time of writing there was no stewards’ report of the meeting posted on the Racing Queensland website and efforts to contact the Chief Steward Luke Collins, or the club, had been unsuccessful.

A replay of the incident is frightening and it’s a miracle there was not a much more serious outcome as the three horses came down midfield.

Young Fawke fared worst. He was airlifted to Brisbane on Saturday night with a fractured skull, some bleeding on the brain and multiple bone fractures. The entire racing community wishes him a complete and speedy recovery.

Leading local jockey Adrian Coome will miss the upcoming Mackay Cup carnival with a broken arm. He was enjoying one of his best seasons while Brad Stewart, who came off the well backed Vandalised after having already ridden a treble and was the champion jockey of the Rocky carnival, escaped with a broken finger.



JUST hours after the VRC signed over their media and vision rights to Racing Victoria, negotiations with the Seven Network are set to begin on Monday to end a blackout of racing in this state.

PATRICK BARTLEY reports in THE AGE that after weeks of to-ing and fro-ing, Racing Victoria chairman David Moodie and his CEO Bernie Saundry closed the deal committing the VRC to allowing RVL to negotiate on their behalf.

It's a major breakthrough for racing administration in this state. In fact it is one of the biggest reallocations of power for more than half a century. However, the clubs didn't go lightly as many were wary of breaking away from Tabcorp who had since the mid-1960s financed racing into the huge industry it is today.

Many were watching the decision of the VRC finally committing to a deal that saw the powers move from the four shareholders into the hands of the RVL.

Moodie is understood to have worked day and night last week to broker the deal that was close to signing on Friday night, however the Seven Network, which hoped to broadcast the Moonee Valley meeting had a deadline to work around and without the VRC's commitment the meeting remained blacked out.

RVL is still keen for Tabcorp to play a role on the vision and media front. "I really hope that we can get Tabcorp back to the negotiating table because if we can there is so much to be gained from all of the parties involved," Moodie said.

Just as the deal was closed the Seven Network was advised that RVL would be the sole negotiator over a deal that will see the station broadcast Victorian racing live on one of its free-to-air channels. It also means Sky Channel owned by Tabcorp will now struggle to snare the rights after Seven was recommended by the ruling body.



STOOD-DOWN trainer Sam Kavanagh admitted Midsummer Sun was given a drench treatment and injected only hours before his Gosford Cup win in January as the stewards' inquiry into the horse's positive test to cobalt  continued on Thursday.

CHRIS ROOTS reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that Kavanagh said he "didn't know" what was in the drench disqualified trotting trainer Mitchell Butterfield admitted administering at 2pm on race day. Butterfield also said he gave it a 20millilitre needle, which he was told held vitaminC and formaldehyde,  a treatment for bleeders. They were given at Kavanagh's stable before Midsummer Sun left for Gosford on January9 for the race run at 6.05pm.

Racing NSW stewards are inquiring into positive swabs to caffeine and cobalt taken from Midsummer Sun after the Gosford Cup and race-day treatments to Ceda Miss and Palazzo Pubblico, which  won at Warwick Farm two days previously. Kavanagh is facing eight charges relating to those three horses.

Kavanagh admitted he had organised for John Camilleri, another harness racing figure, to drench his horses but, when he was unavailable, Butterfield took over, using his own drenching equipment. He was given $350 or $400 for his services.

Once "the job was done", Camilleri sent a group text to four friends in which he tipped  Midsummer Sun in the Gosford Cup, and which ended with "it's had my magic".  

Butterfield told stewards in an interview  he had been at the stables two days earlier with Camilleri and drenched Ceda Miss and Palazzo Pubblico with a clear liquid supplied in coffee cups by the stable.  

The inquiry painted Kavanagh as a young man who would do anything to win. He admitted he trialled what he believed to be another prohibited substance, xenon gas, in 2014. 

He swapped text messages with Alan Thompson, the owner of several horses in the stable including Midsummer Sun and Scone Cup winner Tales Of Grimm, about xenon gas. 

Stewards asked Thompson about text messages sent after Astro Avalanche had established a big lead in the Stayers Cup and was only just run down by Destiny's Kiss.

Kavanagh texted "fifth of July just get on the gas", to which Thompson replied "it's like that  song Jumpin' Jack Flash, it's a gas, gas, gas".  The Queensland Cup was on July 5, and was Astro Avalanche's next start. 

Kavanagh admitted he had trialled it on a horse but had not used it on the stayer. Kavanagh also told stewards he was desperate and misguided in his efforts to win. 

Focus also returned to Kavanagh's vets at Flemington Equine Clinic. The inquiry will not resume before June 29.  



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Getaway & Go Racing &
Day at the Races FREE Ratings
BN: 55127167


RIDING FOR THE DISABLED ASSOC is an international, not for profit organization that provides horse riding & associated activities for people with all types of disabilities. Over 140 RDA groups operate throughout Australia.

For more information or to locate the nearest centre to you, please visit their website at:

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