By: Leo Schlink
TONY Vasil will be allowed to continue training in Victoria after agreeing for his percentage of prizemoney to be frozen pending the outcome of charges against him.
The Group 1-winning horseman is among eight licensed figures facing a total 271 charges stemming from the Lovani doping scandal.
Vasil, who continues to battle mental illness, faces seven counts of alleged “dishonest, corrupt or fraudulent, improper or dishonourable action or practice in connection with racing.”
Racing Victoria stewards claim Vasil “was party to the administration of alkalinising agents and/or medications to a horse or horses on a race day” on seven occasions between December 26, 2010 to June 7, 2013.
Robert Smerdon, Stuart Webb, Vasil, Liam Birchley, Trent Pennuto and Aquanita Racing employees Greg Nelligan, Denise Nelligan and Danny Garland all face serious charges stemming from the Lovani doping investigation.
Greg Nelligan has been charged with 123 counts after he was allegedly caught attempting to treat Smerdon’s mare Lovani with stamina-boosting sodium bicarbonate paste at Flemington October 7.
Evidence gathered since led to the charging of the eight identities — all with past or present links to Aquanita.
Vasil’s legal representatives made detailed written submissions to stewards on Thursday after the Caulfield Cup-winning trainer was asked to show cause why he should not be stood down.
Following discussions, Vasil undertook “that any trainer’s percentage of prizemoney earned by him in races conducted in Victoria from 1 February 2018 until the final determination of the charge laid against him (including any appeals) will be held by RV.”
If Vasil is cleared of the charges, the money held by RV will be paid to him. If he is found guilty, the money will be “forfeited permanently”.
Vasil has only a handful of horses in work at Caulfield and continues to deal with significant mental issues. His horses were recently banned from being entered for races because he did not comply with an order to be interviewed by stewards over the Lovani probe.
The ban was lifted after he agreed to be interviewed.
Vasil and Brisbane trainer Birchley were last month issued with show-cause notices stemming from the Lovani probe.
Birchley, who has been a regular at Victorian carnivals on a visiting trainer’s permit, agreed not to compete in Victoria until September 1 or until the matter is finalised.
The Queenslander faces three counts of using sodium bicarbonate on his gallopers.
Smerdon and Webb voluntarily stood down from training after being charged last month.
Denise Nelligan and Garland, also stood down.
It is understood Greg Nelligan has moved interstate and might not return to face the charges at the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board.
The RAD Board will next week hold a directions hearing for all involved in the Lovani inquiry. The directions hearing is set to start at 10am on Tuesday, as the parties involved decide on the next course of action for proceedings in the inquiry.