Greg Nelligan. Picture: AAP
Greg Nelligan. Picture: AAP

Winx was exploited in doping scandal

Greg Nelligan has revealed he deliberately attempted to exploit superstar Winx's presence at Flemington last year to dope Lovani in a horse urinal.

Grilled by Racing Victoria's Jeff Gleeson, QC, over the likelihood of being caught at a major spring meeting, Nelligan said he thought Winx would provide the perfect distraction on Turnbull Stakes Day on October 7, 2017.

"When Winx was running, I foolishly thought that they (stewards and spectators) would be watching her," Nelligan said.

Nelligan was apprehended in the stalling box with Robert Smerdon's Lovani as Winx paraded before the Turnbull Stakes.

He was unaware steward Dion Villella was monitoring him atop a ladder from a disguised vantage point behind the urinal wall.

Nelligan was caught with a modified syringe containing sodium bicarbonate and Tripart paste, some of which he injected into Lovani's mouth before Villella intervened.


Winx racing on Turnbull Stakes Day at Flemington in 2017. Picture: Alex Coppel
Winx racing on Turnbull Stakes Day at Flemington in 2017. Picture: Alex Coppel

Nelligan denied attempting to dope Melbourne Cup horses because "it's a pretty sacred race", while revealing the fallout between his wife Denise and trainer Tony Vasil.

Nelligan said it "would be ridiculously foolish to attempt" treating Melbourne Cup horses at Flemington with so many people in the stalls area.

Quizzed at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal about texts suggesting he planned to use sodium bicarbonate on up to seven horses at the 2015 Melbourne Cup meeting, Nelligan denied treating Cup runners.

"I have no idea … I can't recall, but I don't think that I did it," Nelligan said

"I think that would be a day I considered too risky.

"I have no recollection of doing horses for the Melbourne Cup."


Under questioning from Patrick Wheelahan, for Vasil, Nelligan said he had never treated horses for John Sadler or Peter Gelagotis, neither of whom are involved in the VCAT appeal.

Neither Sadler nor Gelagotis are suspected of any wrongdoing.

Asked about his failed friendship with Vasil, Nelligan admitted he and his wife lived rent-free in the trainer's east Brighton house for five years.

The relationship soured this year when Vasil confronted Mrs Nelligan about referring to him in a text exchange as a "selfish wanker."

Described by Trent Pennuto as Vasil's one-time "taxi driver", Nelligan said the couple were "quite relieved to leave the house" belonging to Vasil.

Asked if his wife had it in for Vasil, Nelligan said: "She's not particularly happy (with him)."