Trainer feeling ?vindicated

CONTROVERSIAL Rockhampton horse trainer Kerrod Smyth has once again triumphed over adversity after winning moral victory over Queensland Racing stew- ards at a long-awaited inquiry convened by telephone hook-up between Brisbane and Rockhampton yesterday.

Originally, Queensland Racing had ordered Smyth to appear before Brisbane QC Tim Ryan at their Deagon headquarters for the inquiry but after an article in Monday's The Morning Bulletin's "Racing Around'' column highlighting the incon- sistency of that ruling, Smyth was told on Tuesday of the phone option.

The inquiry pertained to Smyth having treated by intravenous drip an electrolyte solution on March 8 at Mackay stables the horses Fire Ant and Pointy Stick after their arrival by transport before they raced that afternoon.

In a bizarre case, stewards arrived at the stables nearby Mackay's Ooralea racecourse just as Smyth was preparing to treat Fire Ant with the solution, which he said wasto address the horse's dehydration.

Smyth told Tim Ryan QC that he had asked steward Bevan Turner if he could go ahead and administer the drip to Fire Ant and he had been told he could.

Accordingly, Smyth said he believed he was not breaking any rule, so he went ahead with the drip in the presence of Turner and fellow stewards Patrick Cooper and Bruce Chestermaster.

Chestermaster video-taped Smyth dripping Fire Ant and this was produced as evidence.

Later on arrival at the Mackay races at 12.22pm, stewards scratched Fire Ant and Pointy Stick from their engagements. Smyth put forward a protracted defence during the hook-up which he said lasted 3 1/2 hours.

After being charged by Ryan with two counts of contravening a section of AR178E for administering medication on race day, Smyth had the charge relating to Fire Ant thrown out as the Queen's Counsel concurred with Smyth's argument that stew- ards had permitted him to go ahead with the procedure.

However, on having a few minutes earlier at around 11.20am on March 8 treated Pointy Stick, the QC imposed a fine of $250. A relieved Smyth believed his innocence was vindicated.

Smyth has been in the news lately through an appeal pending over a $5000 positive swab finding and a $2000 fine (re- duced on appeal to $500) for misconducting himself towards a steward.

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