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RV Welcomes Decision To Stand Down Aquanita Racing Employees

Racing Victoria welcomes the positive outcome of discussions between Racing Victoria Stewards and Aquanita Racing, which has resulted in the standing down of four of its personnel charged in relation to the Lovani Inquiry.

RV Welcomes Decision To Stand Down Aquanita Racing Employees

Aquanita employees Robert Smerdon, Denise Nelligan, Stuart Webb and Daniel Garland have stood down in relation to the Lovani inquiry.

Racing Victoria welcomes the positive outcome of discussions between Racing Victoria Stewards and Aquanita Racing, which has resulted in the standing down of four of its personnel charged in relation to the Lovani Inquiry.

Aquanita Racing today informed Racing Victoria that its employees Robert Smerdon, Denise Nelligan, Stuart Webb and Daniel Garland had agreed to stand down pending an upcoming hearing of the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board.


The effect of their standing down is that they will be regarded as suspended persons. They will be permitted to attend race meetings but will not participate in their normal activities as licensed or registered persons.

Show cause notices have also been issued to trainers Tony Vasil and Liam Birchley and former Aquanita Racing employee Greg Nelligan who will have an opportunity to submit their case as to why they should remain actively involved in the industry.

Trainer Trent Pennuto is already serving a period of disqualification after being found guilty of AR 64G (Stomach Tubing) in August 2017.

“Racing Victoria welcomes Aquanita’s decision and its continued cooperation with this inquiry," Racing Victoria CEO Giles Thompson said.

"It’s vital that the integrity of Victorian thoroughbred racing is protected while we await the outcomes of the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board hearing of these charges.”

“It is important to say that all of those charged by stewards on Tuesday have a presumption of innocence, however given the serious nature of the charges the Stewards believe this is an appropriate course of action for the Aquanita personnel to have taken.

"Under the Australian Rules of Racing, the registered and licensed personnel facing charges can be stood down pending a hearing if their continued participation in racing might pose an unacceptable risk to, prejudice or undermine the image, interests or integrity of racing.

"The Stewards have made no determinations concerning the show cause notices involving Mr Vasil, Mr Birchley and Mr Nelligan and they will be given the full opportunity to put submissions to the Stewards in regards to their own situations."

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