On the eve of the Caulfield Cup, Racing Victoria chairman David Moodie has stood aside pending an investigation into an undisclosed matter by the state’s Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna.
An RV statement on Friday said the investigation related to a matter that had been reported to Perna by the RV Integrity Council and that Moodie had chose to stand aside.
The timing is less than ideal for Racing Victoria, as it enters the main three weeks of the spring racing carnival, and with the ongoing search for a replacement for outgoing CEO Bernard Saundry, who finishes his stint in November.
A prominent racehorse owner and breeder, Moodie became chairman in May 2015 following the sudden resignation of Rob Roulston over an integrity issue.
In his role as a bloodstock agent, Roulston nominated an overseas horse for the Melbourne Cup but after the sale fell through he advised RV a fee did not apply.
Roulston eventually paid the fee after advice it could not be waived but an internal audit process uncovered his initial non-payment request.
Last month, trainer Danny O’Brien told an appeal into his and Mark Kavanagh’s respective four and three-year disqualifications, it was Moodie, then an RV board member, who told then-trainer Peter Moody of the O’Brien and Kavanagh cobalt positives before they had been informed by stewards.
Newscorp reported Moodie had been cleared by the RV Integrity Council in that matter.
RV said it would make no comment while the investigation was undertaken.
Nikolic ban stays in place
Meanwhile the Court of Appeal on Friday upheld the Victorian Police Chief Commissioner’s challenge to a decision that overturned an order banning jockey Danny Nikolic from entering specified racetracks.
The order, signed on November 12, 2015, was made in light of Nikolic’s “violent behaviour” and other undisclosed information.
Former Caulfield Cup winner Nikolic was disqualified from racing for two years after being found guilty of threatening chief steward Terry Bailey in 2012.
He incurred a further penalty for offensive conduct towards another steward during an appeal against the two-year ban.
Nikolic sought a judicial review saying he was not provided with the details of adverse allegations against him.
He said he had been denied procedural fairness and argued he should have been adequately informed of the matters the chief commissioner would take into account when deciding whether or not to make an exclusion order.
Victorian Supreme Court Judge Tim Ginnane agreed certain documents should have been disclosed to Nikolic and set aside the exclusion order in June 2016.
But the Police Commissioner appealed that decision and on Friday, the Court of Appeal found in his favour, ensuring the exclusion order remains in effect.
Nikolic refused to comment to reporters outside court.