Most racing participants know of A J (Tony) Vasil. Leading apprentice, highly successful trainer both here and abroad, largely through the deeds of Elvstroem and Haradasun, but also Marstic, Super Elegant, Irish Darling, Lucky Secret, Under the Louvre and others.
Maybe not as well known outside his immediate circle is his long time battle with depression, which culminated in him taking a three year sabbatical from training a big team. He returned to the game he loves, and the only job he knows, about 18 months ago with a handful of horses.
A year ago he suffered the tragic loss of his elder son. At the time he confided to friends that he needed the horses to keep him going, albeit it is an ongoing struggle.
Recently he was summoned to the Lovani inquiry. He consulted his physician who advised stewards he was unfit to attend for two weeks. This week he was again summoned to appear before stewards and again his physician advised stewards he was unfit to attend for a further 4 weeks.
Following is the initial corrrespondence from Racing Victoria’s chief steward Terry Bailey and after that the legal correspondence from Minter Elison informing Vasil that, as of yesterday (Monday Decemeber 11) any nominations from his stable would not be accepted.
Last month was the first anniversary of the death of James Vasil and the week before would have been his birthday, but that seems to matter little to officialdom. Given the action contained in the letter from Bailey, and rather than suffer further humiliation with stewards, having already provided them with a professional opinion, and given what they already know, Tony has been coerced into taking a backward move from his role and will hand over the training of his small team to Nick Ryan while he deals with personal matters.
The important thing is the physicians advice and not just refusing to front as they suggest, and the standover of taking his license away regardless because they say he can’t be relied upon at a race meeting. There’d be more trainers not at the races than in attendance these days and there have been others represent Tony Vasil on raceday in recent times but the powers that be are just standing over him now.
He will keep riding trackwork and play a support role where possible because ‘he needs his horses’.
Racing Victoria already have a long running bullying case with a licensed female but it seems as though some people just don’t learn.