Racing Victoria Integrity Commissioner Sean Carroll opens Aquanita’s books to ensure cheaters are caught in future


“It’s ‘how can Racing Victoria improve’, or any code for that matter,” he said.

“How can any of the three racing codes ensure that people don’t get away with essentially cheating?”

Make your mark

The Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner saw an 880% increase in the number of inquiries and complaints received, compared to the 12 months before Carroll’s arrival.

The experienced integrity leader did not hide from the public spotlight or difficult issues. He was quick to investigate what was wrong with Racing Victoria’s failed stomach tube case against Richard Laming, dropped by prosecutors after steward Dion Villella deliberately contacted another witness in the three-way court taken against court orders.


In its report, it cautioned Racing Victoria about its employment and internal investigation policies and minimum education standards, while also suggesting that Racing Victoria consider bringing charges against Villella under the racing rules for conduct detrimental to the image of the sport.

Racing Victoria adopted most of Carroll’s recommendations, but decided that a demotion from Villella’s managerial position was a significant punishment.

“That’s the discretion that Racing Victoria has,” Carroll said.

“I stand by my recommendations.

“They certainly maintain that they have dealt with the issue of this particular element within the framework of his position, and I recognize that. I think that’s something we need to continue to assess.

But Carroll is confident Racing Victoria’s integrity processors are stronger after the investigation.

“I am convinced that within every crisis lies a great opportunity, in fact I have that written in my book here,” he said.

“These are great learning opportunities for Racing Victoria and for all the requests we have helped Codes with.”

Well-being at the center

While animal welfare will always be a key integrity issue across all three racing codes, Carroll has determined in its first 12 months that the welfare of participants is as important – if not more important – a priority in the future.

Part of this includes the long waits participants face following positive samples for banned substances, with some cases taking years to be heard, tarnishing reputations and impacting individuals’ mental health in the meantime. , to be expelled or subject to minor penalties.

“You look at law enforcement, for example, where they mentioned memoirs that people can plead guilty to the first option,” Carroll said.

“Look at the AFL, for example, where they have set penalties for certain issues, and can we introduce something like that?

“I’m not saying that’s the answer. But is the process we had five or 10 years ago the same as we should have today, or can we improve it?

“I spoke to Giles Thompson about it and I know it’s a priority for Racing Victoria, and how they can improve their pre-preparation processes and bring the cases to the VRT. [Victorian Racing Tribunal].”

Changes will be made to the Exhibition St building, which not only houses the court but Carroll’s workplace. He plans to reduce the size of his corner office and open it up to increase its accessibility.

Giles Thompson, CEO of Racing Victoria.Credit:Reg Ryan, Getty Images

“Racing is a problem-rich environment,” he said.

“I’ve really made an effort to be more open to the public with what I do, whether it’s going to race meetings, stables or kennels.

“We need to improve the way we handle our complaints. We need to make it less confusing for the audience or attendees.

“My concern now is: is the integrity process put in place in 2018 the same as the one required in 2022? That’s the challenge for us in the racing industry, to make sure we’re continually evolving .

“I have great faith in the three integrity units and the people running them, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve.”


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