Robert Smerdon ruling: Never to return to racing

POSTED ON  |  08-01-2020

Robert Smerdon
Robert Smerdon will never be allowed to return to Australian racing under a scalding judgement from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal which has rejected his appeal against a life ban and a $90,000 fine. VCAT deputy president Heather Lambrick ruled Smerdon had shown no remorse for his conduct as the major player in the so-called Aquanita raceday treatment affair.

She said suggestions that Smerdon should eventually be allowed back into racing were unwarranted. “There are times when the racing industry should not do so,” Lambrick said in a written judgement. “This is such an occasion. “Mr Smerdon has shown no remorse or contrition for his conduct. He should not return to racing.”

Smerdon, who is now believed to be working as a driver including driver ubers, was ordered to pay the fine by June 30 and his life ban starts immediately. It is the latest dramatic development in the Aquanita affair involving raceday ‘top-ups’ which was originally described by Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board Chairman Judge John Bowman as one of the darkest chapters in Australian racing history.

Fellow trainers Stuart Webb and Tony Vasil have now had their four and three-year penalties respectively cut to 18 months. Webb is eligible to return to racing, having already served more than 18 months while Vasil’s ban starts immediately. "As a result of the appeal Mr Webb’s disqualification will be for a period of 18 months back dated to commence on 15 January 2018. This is due to Mr Webb being stood down from training since that date and not seeking a stay of the RAD Board decision. As a result the disqualification period has been completed," a Racing Victoria statement said.

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