No cobalt cover-up, clinic manager says

A veterinary practice manager denies trying to cover up his clinic’s involvement in cobalt cases in Victoria and NSW.

Flemington Equine Clinic practice manager Aaron Corby has denied trying to pressure Sydney trainer Sam Kavanagh to not reveal that a substance called vitamin complex came from the clinic.

Flemington Equine vet Dr Tom Brennan admits adding the vitamin complex to drips given to some racehorses trained by Kavanagh’s father Mark and Danny O’Brien, but maintains none of them knew it contained cobalt.

Corby denied Racing Victoria barrister Jeff Gleeson QC’s suggestion he knew at the time of Mark Kavanagh and O’Brien’s cobalt positives in January 2015 that Brennan had supplied vitamin complex drips to the trainers.

Gleeson said Corby was aware O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh knew or suspected the drips included a prohibited substance, which Corby denied.

“You and Tom Brennan, Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh went into a panicked desperate attempt to cover that up in February and March and beyond in 2015, correct?” Gleeson asked Corby.

Corby said that was incorrect.

Sam Kavanagh has said Brennan and Corby tried to pressure him not to tell NSW stewards the vitamin complex came from Flemington Equine, after a bottle at his home was found to contain cobalt.

The trainer told a NSW inquiry he was told “don’t name Flemington Equine, that would have a very negative effect on my father’s case in Melbourne … and basically that I’m sentencing them and everybody”.

Corby on Monday denied being party to a conversation to that effect or trying to pressure the trainer.

“I actually did tell him to tell the truth,” Corby told O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh’s appeal against their cobalt disqualifications.

After initially denying it, Brennan admitted he sent the vitamin complex to Sam Kavanagh.

Former Flemington Equine vet, Dr Stuart Vallance, said he thought there was something untoward about the vitamin complex bottle when he saw it in Brennan’s car fridge during the 2014 spring carnival but said nothing.

“I recognised something that wasn’t right and I chose not to have a part in it,” Vallance said.

The appeal in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal is in its second week and appears unlikely to be completed before the spring carnival because of scheduling issues.

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