Racing Victoria chairman David Moodie resigned on Thursday night, making him another high-profile head to roll from the cobalt scandal that has dogged the state’s racing sector for almost two years.
However, the organisation’s acting chairman, Mike Hirst, revealed that his predecessor had not resigned as chairman of RVL because he was the source of a leak to racehorse trainer Peter Moody that other trainers – Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh – were subject to cobalt charges.
In fact, Fairfax Media journalist Patrick Bartley has revealed that it was he who told Moodie of some of the findings of the cobalt cases while interviewing him about the issue.
It had been suggested that Moodie had tipped off his trainer – the other Moody – as a result of his knowledge from an investigation being conducted by Sal Perna, RVL’s racing integrity commissioner. But Hirst confirmed that was not the case.
“In reviewing this matter the board considered a range of points, including the confidential investigation by Sal Perna,” Hirst said.
“Mr Perna’s report found that David Moodie was not the source of the leak from Racing Victoria.”
The leaking of confidential information had the potential to derail Racing Victoria’s case against O’Brien and Kavannagh as they knew of their impending cobalt dramas before the stewards raided them.
The suggestion that David Moodie had been the source sprang from the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board and Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearings into the cobalt cases of Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh.
O’Brien gave evidence that he was tipped off by fellow trainer Peter Moody on the morning before the stewards raided his stables.
O’Brien gave further evidence that he believed Moody had been alerted by David Moodie.
Fairfax Media also believes that David Moodie implicated chief steward Terry Bailey as the source of the leak which came to Moodie via a journalist.
This whole unseemly fiasco triggered an inquiry by racing integrity commissioner Sal Perna, with racing’s integrity council and the government’s Racing Minister, Martin Pakula, keenly interested in the outcome.
Whilst Perna’s investigation was under way, David Moodie stood aside voluntarily from his position as chairman of Racing Victoria, although many with inside knowledge knew of his desire to continue in that role.
Perna interviewed a number of people including the trainers involved, Bailey and Moodie, a number of veterinarians and Fairfax Media journalist Patrick Bartley.
Bartley on Thursday night sought to clarify his position.
“I was interviewed by Perna and gave a statement that I had told Moodie that O’Brien and Kavanagh had cobalt irregularities.
“Moodie had called me to tip me off that his trainer Peter Moody was having a press conference to announce his cobalt irregularity and that I had been excluded from the press conference.
“I thanked Moodie for the ‘heads up’ and mentioned to him confidentially that Peter Moody was not alone and would soon be joined by Kavanagh and O’Brien who also had cobalt irregularities.
“I had known this information for over three weeks, although I did not receive any information from Terry Bailey,” Bartley said.
“When Bailey’s position was on the line and he was being named as a source of the leak I volunteered to the Integrity Council and then to Perna that Bailey was not the source of the leak.
“I volunteered my telephone records which supported my statement to Perna and the integrity council.”
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