Trainer guilty of punching horse six times
SEYMOUR trainer Michael Quadara has been found guilty of striking one of his horses in a roadside incident that shocked eyewitnesses late last year.
Quadara pleaded not guilty to a breach of rule AR175(q), which relates to "misconduct, improper behaviour or unseemly behaviour", after it was alleged he struck his horse, Manhattan Sparkles, on the side of Melbourne's Western Ring Road on September 1 last year.
The horse was being floated home from Casterton.
Quadara said he was simply attending to the five-year-old mare after she became agitated.
However, two eyewitnesses, who were trailing the float in their own car, told the Racing and Appeals Disciplinary Board they saw Quadara "landing six or more blows on the head" of the horse "with a clenched fist".
The RAD Board was also told several other witnesses, with traffic stalled, were "tooting their horns" at Quadara and telling him "don't hit that horse".
After initially denying he hit the horse in his first interview with stewards, Quadara claimed in a second interview that he slapped the horse with an open hand three times.
Quadara told stewards he had "flipped out" and "lost his cool" but said he was "pretty sure" he would not have hit the horse in the head.
The RAD board though dismissed Quadara's evidence, which changed markedly in his two interviews and again during the hearing.
Instead, Judge Bowman said he had "no hesitation" in choosing to believe the eyewitness testimony, and found Quadara guilty of the charge.
In its decision the RAB board said it was "comfortably satisfied that Manhattan Sparkle was struck and that the blows were punches to the vicinity of the head. We accept that there were approximately six blows".
Penalties will be decided at a later date, with the RAD Board also to hear a second charge relating to Quadara's conduct before the stewards.
Manhattan Sparkle, which has never won in 13 races, remains in the care of Quadara and has raced three times since the incident, failing to finish once, and finishing last in the other two starts.