Date for Smerdon hearing set
19:00 AEST Thu Jan 3 2013

Trainer Robert Smerdon has been given a date to answer charges relating to the Damien Oliver betting scandal amid calls for them to be dropped.

Smerdon was the conduit between commission agent Mark Hunter and the jockey for payment of Oliver's winnings from a bet he had on Miss Octopussy in October 2010.

The trainer was given an envelope by Hunter which he held for the jockey without asking the contents.

Stewards charged Smerdon last month with conduct prejudicial to the image of racing and the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board has set February 7 as the date for the hearing.

The Victorian arm of the Australian Trainers' Association has thrown its support behind Smerdon who said he was merely doing a mate a favour and was unaware of the contents of the envelope.

ATA chief executive John Alducci said last week the charge was based on innuendo and set a dangerous precedent for all licensed persons and should be withdrawn.

Oliver is serving a 10-month ban for betting on Miss Octopussy in the race in which he rode the second favourite.

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