Richard Laming was relieved to put a 28-month legal battle behind him after Racing Victoria withdrew charges against the Cranbourne trainer.
Trainer Richard Laming says Racing Victoria made the “right decision” dropping all charges against him for the alleged race-day stomach tubing Jamaican Rain in November 2019.
In a brief sitting on Thursday, Brendan Murphy, QC, acting on behalf of RV, told the Victorian Racing Tribunal his “instructions are to withdraw all charges”.
No reason was given for the decision.
Laming faced two charges in relation to a stable inspection in November 2019, while stable hands Marnu Potgieter and Zeyaur Rahman faced one charge each for the alleged breach.
Following RV’s sensational about-face, Laming’s barrister Damian Sheales, who also represented Potgieter and Rhaman, requested all charges be dismissed rather than withdrawn.
VRT chairman Judge John Bowman granted the unopposed application.
“We were very confident, even before the case started, we done nothing wrong,” Laming told News Australia and Racenet on Thursday.
“I don’t want to talk out of school and mention anything but there was something there that wasn’t right and their barristers picked up on it and made the right decision.”
The relieved 38-year-old continued.
“It dragged out for a long time and it’s very good for my family and friends and loyal clients, it’s good to have it behind us now,” Laming said.
“It affects your business, it affects everything, it‘s great to have it behind us to be honest.
“We can get on and train horses.
“My team has gone down in size, obviously, while the case was running, a lot of owners don’t want to support you while you’ve got that hanging over your head, now it’s behind us it’s great.”
The snap withdrawal followed an RV-led decision on Wednesday to halt proceedings midway through the five-day hearing, with Murphy citing information that could put the tribunal in “a difficult position”.
“I am making application that the matter be adjourned until tomorrow, but I will not indicate the basis of that application,” Murphy told the VRT on Wednesday.
“In our professional view it would be very dangerous to ignore the circumstances and it would put the tribunal ultimately, I would have thought, in a difficult position.”
Laming, allowed to train on a stay of proceedings, plans to appeal the three-month ban he received last week from the VRT for a cobalt presentation charge.
“Once again, we’re very confident of the right outcome there,” Laming said.
“It should’ve been a harsh fine in our opinion, and that’s probably what it should be and it wasn’t, we’ll definitely be appealing and we’re definitely confident there.”
Racing Victoria declined to comment on Thursday.
GELAGOTIS CLEARED ON DRENCHING COUNT
The Victorian Racing Tribunal has dismissed charges against trainer Peter Gelagotis, unable to be “comfortably satisfied” he illegally administered an alkalising agent on the horse Strong Influence.
Citing interviews stewards conducted from June 2019 and evidence heard by the tribunal last year, Judge John Bowman deemed Gelagotis, stable staff and the horse’s owner as “witnesses of truth”.
In a pre-race blood test taken at Sandown in June 26 2019, Strong Influence, who ran third on the day, returned a reading of 37.8 millimoles per litre in plasma on a threshold of 36 millimoles.
In its decision, which included a lengthy summary of evidence heard, the VRT said “the cause of the high reading remains a mystery”.
It also discounted “undocumented administration” within one clear day of the positive swab.
“Even if that is so, the question remains, by whom?” the decision reads.
“Further, can we be comfortably satisfied that the administration was by Mr Gelagotis or on his orders? Was it done with his knowledge?
“In our opinion, we cannot be comfortably satisfied that the evidence supports a conclusion that any administration was done by Mr Gelagotis, on his orders or with his knowledge.”
The tribunal said speculation the illegal stomach drenching was done by someone with a grudge or vendetta against Gelagotis “has led nowhere”.
A penalty in relation to the lesser charge – detection of a prohibited substance – Gelagotis pleaded guilty to will be handed down at a later date.
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