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Vet says being used as cobalt scapegoat

A vet who denies being involved in supplying cobalt says he is being used as a scapegoat by his former boss.

Dr Adam Matthews denies fellow veterinarian Dr Tom Brennan’s claim he supplied bottles containing a substance called vitamin complex that Brennan gave to horses in Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh’s stables.

After being summonsed to appear at the Victorian trainers’ appeals against their cobalt disqualifications, Matthews maintained he did not supply the bottles.

Brennan told stewards in July 2015 that Matthews supplied the vitamin complex, sourced it from Canada and assured him the bottles did not contain cobalt.

Matthews said Brennan’s evidence was incorrect.

“That was the first time he used me as a scapegoat,” Matthews told the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal on Wednesday.

Brennan has told VCAT he and the trainers did not know they were using cobalt and he was “hoodwinked” by Matthews.

Matthews also denied buying cobalt from other parties and said he did not know where the cobalt that led to a positive result for another Flemington Equine Clinic client, harness racing trainer/driver Craig Demmler, came from.

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“I had nothing to do with it,” he said.

A barrister for Matthews failed to have a summons for the vet to appear as a witness set aside on medical grounds.

The tribunal has heard Matthews, who admits having a severe gambling problem, is suffering from a significant psychiatric disorder that requires ongoing treatment in hospital.

Kavanagh and O’Brien’s barrister Damian Sheales interrupted Racing Victoria barrister Jeff Gleeson QC’s questioning of Matthews numerous times.

“It looks to me like just a smash character assassination,” Sheales said.

“This witness gives no evidence that assists the stewards at all.

“It’s a disgrace. They’ve pulled him out of a mental health institution to come and give evidence that he’s given three times before that they know.”

The Racing NSW Appeal Panel found Matthews not guilty of being the supplier of cobalt in a bottle of vitamin complex Brennan sent to Kavanagh’s son, Sydney trainer Sam Kavanagh.

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