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Aquanita Investigation: A Horse Betting Online Conspiracy?

Posted by: Charlie Smith
Aquanita Investigation Breakdown

Racing Victoria, the governing body of horse betting online in Victoria, Australia, has come under fire recently. The reason being, they have been accused of taking too long to respond to a recent doping scandal. Normally this wouldn’t be that big of an issue except that this scandal has been described as the ‘darkest and longest chapter in Australian turf history’ by a presiding judge. Ultimately questions have been raised regarding the process of investigation. Specifically, how the charges in the Aquanita investigation were brought about.

Aquanita Investigation Horse Betting Online Recap

The news broke earlier in 2018 when Racing Victoria decided to ban stablehand Greg Nelligan, alongside his wife Denise and ‘senior Victorian trained’ Robert Smerdon. All three worked for the Aquanita Racing stable and all three were banned for life. The ban came due to their administration of a prohibited endurance-enhancing ‘bicarb doping treatment’ to horses before raced began. Five other individuals received penalties for the incident as well.

The practice has been ‘long-running’ and was part of a ‘systematic conspiracy’ that aimed at obtaining a clear-cut advantage in the events. In the end Racing Victoria stated that the investigation was successful; and that it’s decisions reflected a thoughtful and committed policy to police the sport accordingly.

However, since then, several trainers, racebook commentators and even punters have reached out to the media to shed some light on an unraveling this sports betting conspiracy. Apparently, there was ample reasons for the governing body, Racing Victoria, to act out much sooner than it did.

Aquanita Investigation || A Conspiracy Emerges

This horse betting online conspiracy was first brought to light on Oct. 7th, 2017. Thousands had turned up to Flemington in hopes of watching the famous Winx win her twenty-first. Ultimately it was what happened to another steed on that day that set this snowball rolling.

Nelligan was caught red-handed in an effort to give the Smerdon-trained mare Lovani a bicarb that would’ve given the horse an unfair advantage in the race. Obviously these type of practices are forbidden for race day.

Once caught, Nelligan claimed that he was a lone actor. However, with a breadcrumb of 70,000 texts, it’s clear that wasn’t the truth. In the end it was these same text messages that shed some light on the widespread doping of horses carried out over the last 7 years or so. These actions were committed by a group inexorably linked to the Aquanita Racing group.

This is what the Aquanita Investigation delivered. However, there are still claims of foul play by the horse betting online committee.

Outside Complaints

Outside complaints of foul play on behalf of Racing Victoria boils down to two things; a careless approach to Mr. Smerdon’s initial questioning and other horse trainers who have dealt with the bureaucracy.

The day the doping conspiracy was unveiled, Smerdon was brought in for questioning. Here he proceeded to lie about his level of involvement in the scandal. Rather, he claimed he was a lone actor. Naturally, his phone was confiscated by Racing Victoria. But instead of doing a comprehensive study on the text messages, the chairman decided to return Nelligan his phone. This move is extremely questionable and begs further investigation.

Furthermore, comparisons against the Cobalt Investigation are concerning. The Cobalt Investigation was also handled by Racing Victoria. But the people involved in that told the media that Racing Victoria treated them much tougher.

Alone neither of these claims are substantial. But together, they do raise alarms. We’ll have to see how this shapes up. In the meantime, players learning how to bet horses online might want to stay away from any raced down under.

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