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Nikolic says Vic steward also in the wrong

Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey is corrupt and dishonest, Danny Nikolic has told a court as he tries to get his jockey licence back.

The controversial jockey has admitted lying and behaving disgracefully and violently, including assaulting a jockey’s girlfriend, but says he is a changed man.

Nikolic said he wished the run-in with Bailey that led to his disqualification never took place and that he had handled it differently.

But the Caulfield Cup-winning jockey said Bailey was also at fault over the incident at a 2012 Seymour race meeting.

“I believe there were two parties in the wrong but I was penalised and I was found guilty,” Nikolic told the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Nikolic was outed for two years for threatening Bailey, which he denied.

“I never threatened him. I spoke to him poorly,” Nikolic said on Monday.

Nikolic also claimed Bailey threatened to destroy his career.

Nikolic told VCAT Bailey was dishonest and had perjured himself.

Racing Victoria barrister Jeff Gleeson QC said: “In your words Terry Bailey has perpetrated a sustained and vicious lie against you.”

Nikolic replied: “Yes he has.”

Gleeson: “You would regard him as a corrupt individual then.”

Nikolic: “Yes I definitely would.”

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Nikolic admitted lying about swearing at Bailey in evidence to a disciplinary hearing and subsequent appeal, saying he cleaned up his language.

He also admitted lying about calling another steward a disgrace at a VCAT hearing, an incident which added to his time on the sidelines.

Nikolic described his 2012 fight with Racing Victoria over his licence as a David and Goliath battle and said he wanted a second chance after four years away.

He admitted committing wrongful acts in the past and that they included assaulting a fellow jockey, the rider’s girlfriend, a taxi driver and a policeman, although he disputed many aspects of those incidents.

“I’ve done my time,” the 41-year-old said.

“I think things are a lot different now and what I’ve been through over the last four years has probably put me in a lot better position to be able to handle situations appropriately.”

Nikolic said he was under a lot of pressure at the time due to his marriage breakdown, Betfair and Smoking Aces investigations and the unsolved murder of his former father-in-law, horse trainer Les Samba.

“I found the stress and publicity surrounding the murder of my ex-father-in-law and the other matters very difficult to cope with,” Nikolic said.

He denied offering fellow rider Mark Zahra a bribe in a 2011 race involving the horse Smoking Aces, ridden by Nikolic.

Zahra failed to have a witness summons set aside and will give evidence later this week about whether he was intimidated by Nikolic during the race fixing investigation.

Gleeson said the jockey’s father John Zahra had described Nikolic as the “scum of the earth” and had said “we are more petrified than anything else of Nikolic”.

Nikolic said Mark Zahra, a mate, was not petrified of him and he had no idea why he would say that.

Zahra’s barrister Patrick Wheelahan said he was not intimidated.

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