Queensland trainer Liam Birchley denies being involved in giving horses race day treatments.
Racing Victoria stewards allege horses were given “top-ups” of bicarbonate over seven years, charging five trainers and three stablehands connected to management company Aquanita Racing at Caulfield.
Birchley said he had never administered a medication, alkalinising agent or a prohibited substance to a horse on a race day.
He also told Victoria’s Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board he never asked anyone to do so nor was a party to it.
Much of the stewards’ case involves text messages containing references to “top-ups” on the mobile phone of float driver Greg Nelligan, who worked for now-former trainer Robert Smerdon.
The tribunal heard those involved claimed the references to “top-ups” actually referred to topping up feed or water for the horses.
Birchley on Tuesday said it was a common racing term that referred to feed, water or boxes.
“There wouldn’t be a stable in the country that didn’t use the term,” he said.
Birchley, Smerdon, Nelligan and five others were charged under an Australian racing rule dealing with dishonest, corrupt or fraudulent, improper or dishonourable action.
Birchley’s charge relates to three occasions in 2011, 2012 and 2015 when he was allegedly a party to the administration of alkalinising agents and/or medications to a horse on a race day.