Cobalt vet felt pressure from Kavanagh

A vet was under pressure from Mark Kavanagh when he supplied the trainer and others with a substance later found to contain cobalt, a hearing has heard.

Dr Tom Brennan told his Flemington Equine Clinic partner Dr Ian Church that Kavanagh was putting the pressure on.

“He felt as though we were a chance of losing Mark Kavanagh’s work,” Church told the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal on Wednesday.

Kavanagh and fellow Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien were Brennan’s biggest stables, bringing in tens of thousands of dollars – and up to $100,000 during the spring carnival – in work a month.

Brennan has again blamed former Flemington Equine vet Dr Adam Matthews for supplying the vitamin complex that Brennan in turn gave to horses in the Kavanagh and O’Brien stables, which Matthews denies.

A bottle labelled vitamin complex Brennan sent to Kavanagh’s son, Sydney trainer Sam Kavanagh, was analysed and found to contain massive quantities of cobalt.

The tribunal heard Brennan told Church one of the reasons he did it was to hang on to Kavanagh’s work.

Church said: “Well I think it was a very stupid thing to do.”

Brennan has been banned by stewards in both states while Kavanagh and O’Brien want VCAT to overturn their cobalt disqualifications.

Brennan told VCAT that Matthews told him the vitamin complex was a natural form of concentrated B vitamins and did not contain cobalt nor any prohibited substances.

Sportsbet Australia

Matthews was sourcing the substance from Canada and had been using it in the harness industry, Brennan said.

Brennan said he told Mark Kavanagh it cost $1000 a bottle and he could not 100 per cent guarantee the contents, and testing would cost from $10,000 to $100,000.

“He said stuff that, just use it,” Brennan said.

Brennan said Kavanagh paid him $3000 in cash a few days later, which Kavanagh denies.

Brennan said he had a similar conversation with O’Brien about the vitamin complex, again telling him he could not 100 per cent guarantee what was in it.

Church said his clinic partner betrayed his trust.

O’Brien and Kavanagh’s barrister Damian Sheales suggested anyone associated with cobalt was treated like a pariah in the industry.

“Yes, it’s sort of like being a pedophile,” Church said.

Church denied lying to NSW stewards when he said there was nothing untoward about the bottle found in Sam Kavanagh’s home.

He agreed paying $1000 for a bottle of vitamins – that would normally cost something like $20-$50 – was clearly suspicious.

Church said he regretted telling Dr Amy Kelly, a former Sydney-based vet with Flemington Equine, “I think it’s best you forget about the bottle”.

Related Posts

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments