Karakatsanis 'tubing' case nears finish
Trainer Con Karakatsanis with the rider of beaten favourite Howmuchdoyouloveme, Brenton Avdulla, on Derby Day last year. Photo: Pat Scala
THE Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board will hand down its verdict on Tuesday over conspiracy charges against Sydney trainer Con Karakatsanis stemming from the discovery of stomach-tubing equipment in the stable of Howmuchdoyouloveme on Victoria Derby day last year.
Karakatsanis and his father Tony face five charges relating to the allegation that the tubing equipment found in Howmuchdoyouloveme's stable at Flemington was to be used to treat the horse prior to his run in the Yellowglen Stakes on November 3.
During final submissions, legal counsel for both Karakatsanis and Racing Victoria stewards argued whether the discovery of the tubing equipment by compliance officers Kane Ashby and Dion Villella, along with Karakatsanis' behaviour during a stable raid, could be explained innocently or if there were more sinister motives.
Karakatsanis' legal representative Terry Tobin argued that Ashby and Villella's observations “were coloured by the belief that a plot was being hatched and that mischief was afoot”. The pair overheard Karakatsanis saying to his father, “Call me if there are any issues” as he left the stables and appeared to lock the stable gates behind him. A subsequent raid of the stables revealed tubing equipment and a saline treatment in a chaff bag which Tony Karakatsanis said he had mistaken for a bag of hay.
Tobin asked for the board to consider the innocent explanation that the bag containing the tubing gear was indeed mistakenly put in the box, the saline treatment to be used lawfully post-race, and the fact that Karakatsanis was checking the functionality of the gate-lock rather than locking it.
Cliff Pannam, QC, for Racing Victoria, said that the evidence discovered by the compliance team suggested Con and Tony Karakatsanis were planning to treat Howmuchdoyouloveme prior to its race, and argued that under racing rules – which prevent the treatment of horses on race day – the presence of the tubing equipment in the horse's box was a serious concern.
■Thousand Guineas winner Commanding Jewel will miss the autumn after sustaining a minor injury that requires surgery.
Managing owner Brad Spicer said the issue would keep Commanding Jewel off the scene in the short term.
“She has just wrenched a joint in trackwork so we just need to clean it up," he said.
"She will undergo surgery on Wednesday and will have around three months off afterwards before returning for a big spring campaign."
Commanding Jewel's older half-sister, the unbeaten mare Atlantic Jewel, will also be sidelined until the spring.