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Sadler considering appealing suspension

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Trainer John Sadler will consider an appeal against a six-week suspension for misconduct.

Trainer John Sadler is considering whether to appeal a six-week improper conduct penalty at the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal.

The Caulfield-based horseman was on Monday handed the ban by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board after pleading guilty to charges laid by stewards in relation to his conduct over the scratching of Observational from the Group Three Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on November 18.

He was charged following comments made during a phone conversation with chief steward Terry Bailey on race morning and again to Bailey and deputy chairman Robert Cram at Sandown later that day.

Sadler later apologised and said at Monday’s hearing he had been dragged into the Lovani case as stewards continue investigations into an alleged raceday treatment of the Robert Smerdon-trained mare.

Both Sadler and Smerdon are among trainers who operate under the Aquanita Racing banner.

Aquanita provides management and administration services but the trainers remain independent and responsible for their own stables.

A statement read on RSN927 from Sadler’s legal representative Peter Jurkovsky said the trainer was disappointed with the outcome and the ramifications which flow from the suspension for his owners and staff.

“John will consider pursuing an appeal at VCAT and seek a stay of penalty prior to the full hearing,” the statement said.

“John acknowledged these comments were inappropriate and apologised on the day.

“None of the comments were threats of a personal safety nature.

“We feel we presented a compelling case for a fine only based on the early guilty plea, the apology and the extremely difficult circumstances that had arisen on the day in relation to the scratching of Observational.

“The full reasons will be published in the next few days and we will review those in the light of a potential appeal.”

Putting on his hat as president of the Australian Trainers’ Association, Robbie Griffiths said his initial reaction to Sadler’s suspension was shock and that is was harsh.

“I’m only looking at it through my set of eyes and don’t know the full set of circumstances having not sat in on the inquiry,” Griffiths told RSN927.

“To have a trainer suspended for the charges, six weeks, seems a bit harsh.”

Stewards are continuing their investigations into the circumstance that led to Observational’s scratching.

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