By: Patrick Bartley

Racing Victoria is seeking leave to mount a Supreme Court appeal after its cobalt doping case against top trainers Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh collapsed at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal (VCAT) last month.

The club on Thursday submitted an application to the Court of Appeal seeking leave to appeal to the Victorian Supreme Court against VCAT Judge Greg Garde’s March 17 decision to clear O’Brien and Kavanagh over positive tests for cobalt in horses they trained.

The VCAT hearing was itself an appeal by the trainers against  their disqualification last last year by the Racing And Disciplinary board, which banned O’Brien for four years and Kavanagh for three years

Justice Garde found Racing Victoria’s process for cobalt testing had “substantially departed” from the Rules of Racing and he had no alternative but to throw the case out.

The trainers had argued that their veterinarian, Tom Brennan, administered the cobalt without their knowledge.

RV is seeking leave to appeal on the proper interpretation of the Rules of Racing with regard to drug testing and for the interpretation of “cause” to determine “the appropriate level of responsibility of the licensed trainers for the management of their horses and their service providers”.

RV Acting Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said the fundamental role of RV was to protect both the integrity of thoroughbred racing in Victoria and the welfare of horses.

“Racing Victoria must pursue its core focus of the protection of the integrity of our sport and welfare of our horses. We believe it is appropriate that Racing Victoria seeks an appeal of VCAT’s decision,” Mr Thompson said.