Vets says unaware of cobalt in drips

Vet Tom Brennan says he and Flemington trainers Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh did not know they had used cobalt when they gave horses vitamin complex drips.

Brennan has also claimed test certificates showing illegal cobalt levels in four O’Brien racehorses and one Kavanagh horse have been doctored.

Brennan admits he initially lied to stewards to protect himself and the trainers, but maintains they never knew bottles labelled vitamin complex contained cobalt.

“At no stage did we know that we were ever using cobalt,” Brennan told O’Brien and Kavanagh’s appeal over their cobalt disqualifications.

Brennan admitted he threw out a bottle of vitamin complex “in a moment of panic” after learning of the cobalt positives and destroyed a Flemington Equine Clinic record of him sending bottles to Kavanagh’s son, Sydney trainer Sam Kavanagh.

Brennan also told Sam Kavanagh to get rid of his bottle.

Racing Victoria barrister Jeff Gleeson QC suggested Brennan, O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh knew all along that it was cobalt, which the vet denied.

“No, that’s garbage, absolute garbage,” Brennan told the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal on Thursday.

“The only reason you guys are still trying to say we knew is because it suits your agenda, it’s because you got up on the first day and made this big song and dance about it.

“You knew that we didn’t know there was cobalt in it.”

VCAT has heard tests on a bottle found in Sam Kavanagh’s home found it contained massive quantities of cobalt.

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He named Brennan as the supplier, but the vet initially denied it.

Brennan did not tell NSW and Victorian stewards about the vitamin complex until July last year.

He said he was not the only person who had misled people.

“We were presented with certificates to say that these horses had exceeded thresholds and they’re doctored-up certificates.

“We’ve got stewards telling laboratories what needs to go on these certificates.”

Gleeson said re-tests had recorded the same results as the initial tests.

Brennan said the labs stored the samples at different temperatures.

“As we sit here you guys still can’t tell me that vitamin complex, if it is B12 or if it is cobalt,” Brennan said.

Brennan says former Flemington Equine vet Dr Adam Matthews supplied the vitamin complex, which Matthews denies.

“Unfortunately I got hoodwinked by an associate of mine,” Brennan said.

“I trusted him and the trainers have trusted me and we all ended up in this mess.

“Yes I lied to protect my clients and I lied to protect myself and I apologise.”

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