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RADB hands Smerdon and Nelligans life bans

Former trainer Robert Smerdon has been disqualified for life along with his former employees Greg and Denise Nelligan after being found guilty in the Aquanita race day treatments case.

Judge John Bowman handed down the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board penalties on Thursday with the three among eight people disqualified.

Trainer Stuart Webb has been banned for four years, Tony Vasil for three years, Trent Penutto for two years, Liam Birchley for one year and stablehand Daniel Garland for one year.

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The Aquanita Eight were charged in January following an investigation stemming from the alleged attempt to give Lovani an oral paste at Flemington at Flemington on October 7 last year.

Counsel for Racing Victoria stewards, Jeff Gleeson described Smerdon, the leading trainer of the group, along with Greg Nelligan, as the driving force of the “top ups”.

Brisbane trainer Birchley was the only one of the eight to give evidence and has already indicated he will appeal.

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