Birchley asked to show cause by NSW

liam birchley
Brisbane trainer Liam Birchley (l) has to show cause why he should be allowed to race horses in NSW.

Brisbane trainer Liam Birchley has been asked to show cause why he should be allowed to start horses in NSW in light of his alleged involvement in the bicarb scandal in Victoria.

Racing NSW stewards issued the show cause notice on Monday after studying the brief of evidence from Racing Victoria in the case in which eight people including Birchley, have been charged.

Birchley has been allowed to keep training in Queensland after agreeing not to start any horses in Victoria while the case is ongoing.

He has entered Villiers Stakes winner Crack Me Up for the Liverpool City Cup at Randwick on Saturday, a lead-up to the Doncaster Mile.

“Having regard to the brief of evidence and the responsibility of Racing NSW to protect the image, interests and integrity of racing, Racing NSW Stewards have required Mr Birchley to show cause as to why the provisions of AR50 should not be invoked against him in respect of declining to receive or reject the nominations of horses trained by Mr Birchley for races in New South Wales,” a statement from NSW chief steward Marc Van Gestel said.

Australian Rule 50 states in part “all nominations and entries are subject to approval, and the Committee of any Club, or the Stewards, may decline to receive, or at any time after having received, reject any nomination or entry without giving any reason for so doing”.


The stewards’ statement said the brief contained the evidence RV will rely on in respect to the charge Birchley faces which particularises that on November 3, 2011, November 6, 2012 and November 3, 2015, he engaged in a practice that was dishonest, corrupt or fraudulent, improper or dishonourable, in that he was a party to the administration of alkalinising agents and/or medications to a horse or horses on a race day.

Birchley has indicated he will provide submissions in response to the show cause notice.

Last week, News Corp published a series of text messages reported to be between some of the eight parties, which include multiple Group One-winning trainer Robert Smerdon, charged over the race day treatments commonly known as bi-carb.

After an investigation sparked by the withdrawal of the Smerdon-trained Lovani from a race at Flemington in October because of a suspected race day treatment, he and the seven others were charged in January with offences dating back seven years.

Smerdon and fellow Caulfield trainers Stuart Webb and Tony Vasil and Birchley have all operated at some time under the banner of management company Aquanita Racing.

Disqualified trainer Trent Pennuto along with Greg Nelligan and Denise Nelligan, employees of Smerdon and former employees of Vasil, as well as another Smerdon employee, Daniel Garland, also face charges.