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Nikolic Stewards Quiz Owner & Form Analyst
High-profile owner John O'Neill & leading form analyst Mark Hunter "will front Racing Victoria stewards today in the latest chapter in the Danny Nikolic probe," revealed The Herald-Sun. The newspaper reported O'Neill & Hunter "have provided stewards with detailed telephone & betting records from September 1 last year to January 31". Stewards have also "contacted another 18 people they consider of interest from a list of contacts in Nikolic's mobile phone". O'Neill was Nikolic's best man & "they have shared plenty of big race success, most notably with ill-fated Mummify in the 2003 Caulfield Cup". O'Neill commented: "I'm very happy to help stewards & I've co-operated by giving them my phone & betting records. I have not got a Betfair account, but I have known Neville Clements (recently warned-off professional punter & commission agent) for 20 years, since he was a rails bookmaker & I am in regular contact with him about the form of horses. I'm also a close friend of Danny, have been for more than 7 years. He's ridden 6 Gr1-winners for me." Hunter "is regarded as one of Australia's best form analysts & can be heard on Sydney radio & also provides tips for Melbourne's Sport 927 website". Hunter "is just one of many form analysts Victorian jockeys use to assist in their preparation for rides" & Victorian Jockeys' Association chief executive Des O'Keeffe said having a form consultant is "a crucial ingredient for a jockey. With the demands on jockeys these days of 7 days of racing & 1 night, plus the trackwork, any jockey who doesn't have someone to help them with the form is not fulfilling obligations to trainers, owners, the punting public & the industry in general. What's the next step, for them to license form analysts?"