Group One-winning trainer Robert Smerdon had a habit of cheating amid an extremely widespread practice of covert race day treatment of horses, an inquiry has heard.
The high-profile inquiry into five trainers and three stablehands connected with Aquanita Racing centres on "top-ups" given to horses on race days over seven years.
Greg Nelligan, Smerdon's former stablehand and float driver, is the person allegedly at the centre of the administration of bicarbonate to horses on race day.
Racing Victoria stewards' barrister Jeff Gleeson QC said the practice of top-ups among the eight people was knowing, brazen and systematic.
"It was, at least for Smerdon and Nelligan, a habit of cheating," Gleeson told the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board on Monday.
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