Dr Adam Matthews, a prominent Melbourne vet who is allegedly at the centre of the doping scandal that has gripped the Australian racing industry, is strongly suspended of providing banned drugs to many figures including underworld identities.
Dr Matthews is suspected to have links to doping involving Mark Kavanagh, John Nicholson, Danny O'Brien, Paul Sequenzia, and Craig Demmler. The vet is also suspected of owning huge gambling debts to organized criminals.
The Melbourne vet has been accused of engaging in the supply of supplements that he insists are legal but that have later been the focus of major doping inquiries. Till date, Matthews has faced no charges from stewards that highlights the struggle of authorities while dealing with veterinarians suspected to have gone rogue. Dr Matthews is believed to have been named by Dr Tom Brennan, his former colleague, as supplying the horse supplements that led to positive tests for the banned substances cobalt in horses trained by top trainers Danny O'Brien and Mark Kavanagh. The use of cobalt is banned in horse racing as it is believed to enhance performance of horses.
It was alleged by Dr Brennan that Dr Matthews provided the supplements to him with an assurance that they were safe to use. Dr Matthews denies any wrongdoing while Dr Brennan has been charged and suspended by stewards in association with the cobalt accusation.
Dr Matthews, who previously worked at Flemington Equine, is closely associated with trainer Craig Demmler, who was recently suspended for cobalt use. Dr Matthews is also believed to have supplied supplements to underworld and racing figure John "Bulldog" Nicholson, whose son, harness racing trainer Rhys Nicholson, was suspended for cobalt use in 2014. John Nicholson recently said Dr Matthews had previously worked for him for five years but Nicholson denied any involvement in doping. John Nicholson has been described by police documents as a "high risk offender" entrenched in the underworld of Melbourne.
According to media reports, Dr Matthews has been betting tens of thousands of dollars with Paul Sequenzia, an underworld boss and racing identity, who said Dr Matthews is closely linked to John Nicholson and has also worked for as an equine vet. According to police documents, Sequenzia was responsible for doping the horse Em Maguane that resulted in the first Erythropoietin positive test for Australian racing in 2009.
Sequenzia and Nicholson have recently been chasing Dr Matthews over a disputed gambling debt of $100,000. Sequenzia and Nicholson are both criminals who have been described in confidential police reports as having involvement in serious organized crime and the "fixing of racing".
In a statement, Dr Matthew's lawyer, Nicole Spicer, said her client denies each and every allegation.
Racing Minister Martin Pakula recently remarked that he has commissioned Paul Bittar, a former chief executive of British horse racing, to reform the racing integrity structure of Victoria across the three racing codes. Recently, a government commissioned report disclosed that the evident downsizing of harness racing integrity functions falls short of what is expected by government and the industry.
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