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Stablehand to appear at Aquanita appeal

The stablehand at the centre of the “Aquanita eight” race day treatments case is expected to give evidence at the appeal of four trainers.

Robert Smerdon, Stuart Webb, Tony Vasil and Queensland trainer Liam Birchley’s appeals will likely be heard by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal over two weeks from December 12.

VCAT on Wednesday heard Racing Victoria will issue subpoenas to give evidence to the other four people disqualified in the Aquanita case: stablehands Greg and Denise Nelligan, trainer Trent Pennuto and stablehand Daniel Garland.

Harness racing identity Glen Tippet will also be subpoenaed to give evidence.

Stewards downloaded 70,000 text messages from Greg Nelligan’s phone, 1000 of which they relied on in evidence about “top-ups” during a Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board hearing.

Smerdon was disqualified for life and fined $90,000, Webb was banned for four years, Vasil for three years and Birchley for one year.

The Nelligans were disqualified for life, Pennuto was banned for two years and Garland for one year.

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