Trainer Danny O'Brien: will fight chargesPICTURE: Getty Images
O'Brien and Kavanagh charged over cobalt
Australia: Group 1-winning trainers Danny O'Brien and Mark Kavanagh were on Thursday among five people charged by Racing Victoria stewards for doping offences.
O'Brien, whose biggest success came when Shamus Award won the Cox Plate in 2013, and Kavanagh, who saddled Shocking to win the Melbourne Cup in 2009, were charged along with the father-son training partnership of Lee and Shannon Hope plus vet Dr Tom Brennan as the cobalt scandal that has rocked Australian racing this year rumbles on.
In March, Darren Smith became the first trainer to be banned for cobalt use after being handed a 15-year disqualification, while Sam Kavanagh - Mark's son - had his training licence suspended last month by Racing NSW stewards in advance of a hearing this month.
The investigation into Peter Moody - the trainer of the mighty Black Caviar - remains ongoing.
Elevated levels of cobalt, which can assist in generating more red blood cells to carry oxygen through the body and thus allow a horse to perform at a peak level for longer, were found in four horses trained by O'Brien, including the Qatar Racing-owned Caravan Rolls On, who tested positive after finishing eighth in the Group 3 Lexus Stales at Flemington in November.
O'Brien told the Herald Sun on Thursday he will fight the charges, while Kavanagh's Magicool - the winner of the Queensland Derby on Saturday - was some 440 micrograms over Racing Victoria's threshold of 200 micrograms per litre of urine following his win in a Listed race at Flemington in October.
Lee and Shannon Hope, who enjoyed top-level success when Fenway won Rosehill's Vinery Stud Stakes in March, face three charges, while Brennan, a partner in Flemington Equine Clinic who was employed by O'Brien and Kavanagh, was hit with 20 charges.