An inquiry will open next week into a potential race-day treatment of the Conlan-trained Rekindled Interest before last month's Turnbull Stakes. Photo: Pat Scala
THE effectiveness of Victorian racing's Compliance Assurance Team will be tested on Friday when Racing Victoria (RVL) stewards open inquiries into two potential incidents of horses receiving treatment on raceday.
Over the past month, stewards have interviewed four trainers — Robert Smerdon, Con Karakatsanis, Jim Conlan and Nathan Schofield — over possible race-day treatment and on Thursday will inquire further with the two interstate trainers, Schofield and Karatkasanis.
Inquiries into possible same-day treatment involving Smerdon and Conlan will be heard next week.
Treatments such as stomach-tubing are banned within 24 hours of a race.
In Schofield's case, CAT members Kane Ashby and Dion Villella raided a Geelong property at midday on Tuesday and claimed they were hindered in their investigations by the trainer, who refused to open his locked car when requested.
The stewards claim Schofield admitted he was going to stomach-tube the horse Beseech with warm water as he said he was concerned that the horse was dehydrated.
Chief steward Terry Bailey said at Tuesday's initial hearing that he could not be certain that Beseech had not been treated and so scratched the horse.
Last Saturday, Sydney sprinter Howmuchdoyouloveme was given late permission to start in the group 2 Yellowglen Stakes after a stewards inquiry was opened into suspicions he may have had race-day treatment.
RVL stewards, headed by Bailey, questioned trainer Karakatsanis and his father Tony after a morning raid by the CAT on stables at Flemington. They allegedly found a bag containing paraphernalia used to drench a horse. Both men denied they had treated the horse.
Bailey will open inquiries next week into a potential race-day treatment of the Conlan-trained Rekindled Interest before last month's Turnbull Stakes.
Stewards also adjourned an inquiry into the scratching of Smerdon's Shewan an hour before it was to run in the David Jones Cup at Caulfield on October 13.
Stewards questioned Smerdon about "haematomas" found on both Shewan and stablemate Mosheen, who was later permitted to run in the Tristarc Stakes that day.
Stewards scratched Shewan but Bailey said stewards "were not prepared to say" if Mosheen had been treated. "It appears on face value it [Shewan] has been treated," Bailey said at the time.
Also listed for Friday is the appeal by New Zealand rider James McDonald against his 14-meeting ban imposed after Tuesday's Melbourne Cup when stewards found that he directed his mount Fiorente out at the 800-metre mark, and made heavy contact with Sanagas.
Victoria's reigning premier rider, Luke Nolen, has more than a suspension to contend with.
Stewards suspended Nolen until November 19 for careless riding on Lights Of Heaven in the Melbourne Cup after his mount caused interference to Mourayan and Kelinni at the winning post the first time.
When stewards quizzed Nolan they were not impressed with the jockey's attitude and with some comments he made and so will resume an inquiry this morning into his behaviour.
Ethiopia's rider, Rhys McLeod, was also sidelined from the Melbourne Cup after causing interference at the 300-metre mark of the first lap when Ethiopia shifted in and tightened Kelinni and Green Moon.