"Racing sources have confirmed that Danny Nikolic had significant control over the ownership and training of Smoking Aces, directing a Caulfield trainer on how the horse should be treated in the lead-up to the Cranbourne race."There's only one Caulfield trainer currently listed as that of Smoking Aces: Clinton McDonald. We rang him to ask about The Age story and he is under no illusions as to who trains Smoking Aces:
"I train the horse, simple, no if buts or maybes. I train the horse and the owner owns the horse. I have no idea what they are talking about."UPDATE: Of course he doesn't. As our friend @gisikus in the comments noted, Brendan McCarthy was the listed trainer of Smoking Aces at the time of the Cranbourne event under investigation. At least we've given McDonald the chance to allay any confusion that The Age might be referring to him! We are seeking comment from McCarthy unless one of our esteemed colleagues gets to him first.
But The Age opted for a curious choice of words: it appears to be inferring to McCarthy, being is careful to stop short of identifying the official trainer, citing "a Caulfield trainer", ie. not necessarily the official trainer. This piece has been legalled to the max.
UPDATE II: We finally got onto Brendan McCarthy and put the Age quotes to him: "No mate, I haven't got any comment thanks."