Racing Victoria (RV) Stewards have issued four charges against licensed trainers Michael Cornish and Donna Gaskin following an inquiry into potential breaches of Racing Victoria COVID-19 protocols (the Protocols).
Mr Cornish and Ms Gaskin, who train in partnership, have each been issued charges under AR 232(i) (Charge 1) and AR 232(b) (Charge 2).
AR 232(i) states that a person must not give any evidence at an interview, investigation, inquiry, hearing and/or appeal which is false or misleading.
AR232(b) states that a person must not fail or refuse to comply with an order, direction or requirement of the Stewards or an official.
Provided below is a summary of the charges issued against Mr Cornish and Ms Gaskin:
Charge 1: AR 232(i) – False and/or misleading evidence
On 25 August 2020 and 26 August 2020 (the initial interviews), Ms Gaskin and Mr Cornish were respectively interviewed by Stewards with respect to their living arrangements and compliance with the Protocols.
Effective since 26 March 2020, the Protocols specify that a licensed person who enters Victoria from interstate must not enter a licensed premises, racecourse or training centre in Victoria without having first self-isolated for 14 days.
The Stewards allege that during the initial interviews, Ms Gaskin and Mr Cornish denied having stayed at their Moama (New South Wales) residence on 22 August 2020 or that Ms Gaskin had stayed there at all while the Protocols were in place. Their licensed training premises is in Echuca, Victoria.
Ms Gaskin later acknowledged that she had crossed into NSW and stayed overnight at her Moama residence on at least two occasions since the Protocols were in place. Mr Cornish also later acknowledged that they had both stayed overnight at their Moama residence on 22 August.
Accordingly, the Stewards allege that evidence given to the Stewards by Mr Cornish and Ms Gaskin in the initial interviews was false and/or misleading and therefore in breach of AR 232(i).
Charge 2: AR 232(b) – Failure to comply with an order or direction
The Stewards allege that since 26 March 2020, Ms Gaskin and Mr Cornish have travelled from New South Wales into Victoria on a number of occasions and entered licensed premises and/or racecourses and/or training centres in Victoria without having first self-isolated for 14 days.
The Stewards allege that the conduct of Ms Gaskin and Mr Cornish constituted a breach of the Protocols and was therefore a contravention of AR 232(b).
The charges will be heard by the Victorian Racing Tribunal on a date to be fixed.