Liam Birchley still unable to race in NSW

Liam Birchley
Liam Birchley is still ineligible to race in NSW.

Queensland trainer Liam Birchley has again been knocked back in his bid to races horses in NSW ahead of answering charges in the bicarb case in Victoria.

Racing NSW Stewards on Monday received oral submissions from Birchley’s barrister Michael Grant-Taylor QC to supplement written submissions from solicitor Travis Shultz in response to a show cause notice issued on February 26.

The Birchley-trained Doncaster Mile contender Crack Me Up was transferred to Sydney trainer Bjorn Baker last week and won Saturday’s Group Three Liverpool City Cup at Randwick.

Stewards said Grant-Taylor’s principal submission was that due to the weakness in the case against his client and in the absence of any further evidence, his client’s prospects of defeating the charge issued by Racing Victoria Stewards were “stratospheric”.

Grand-Taylor said by invoking the sanction against Birchley, the trainer’s reputation and business would be unfairly damaged.

Racing NSW stewards it was not their role to determine the merits of the charge against Birchley.

“Racing NSW Stewards are of the view that any hardship suffered by Mr Birchley by the invoking the provisions of AR50, is outweighed by the prejudice to, and undermining of, the image, interests and integrity of racing in NSW if he was permitted to nominate (and race) horses in NSW while the serious charge against him is yet to be determined,” a stewards’ statement said.

Birchley is allowed to race horses in Queensland but has agreed not to make any nominations in Victoria.

He is one of eight people charged with offences dating back seven years.

Among the others are fellow trainers Robert Smerdon, Stuart Webb and Tony Vasil who, like Birchley, have all operated at some time under the Aquanita Racing banner.

The hearing into the charges is scheduled to begin in Melbourne on April 30.