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Nikolic Offers To Take Lie-Detector Test
Jockey Danny Nikolic yesterday told Victoria's Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board he is prepared to take a polygraph (lie-detector) test to prove he did not speak to professional punter Neville Clements about the prospects of the horse Baby Boom (trained by his brother John) before it raced & was defeated on the Gold Coast on January 3. Clements laid Baby Boom to lose on Betfair & won $56,040 when the horse finished 4th. Racing Victoria's barrister Paul Holdenson asserted to Nikolic: "Let me be very blunt . . . . I reckon before Baby Boom raced that you spoke to Neville Clements about the horse." Nikolic replied emphatically: "I would love to take a polygraph test. I never spoke about the horse. You're 100% wrong." Holdenson also systematically referred to each of the 9 horses ridden by Nikolic which Clements had laid to lose on Betfair & asked whether Nikolic had discussed the "prospects or lack of them" with Clements. Nikolic explained he spoke to both Clements & form analyst Mark Hunter before most meetings, but only about "things like tempo, where horses are likely to settle & where the smart money is going", adding: "I use him (Clements) as a sounding pad, same as Mark Hunter. I don't tip horses. I certainly don't tip to form guys." Nikolic also insisted he had never received any payment from Clements & when asked by Holdenson why Clements provided his opinions, Nikolic answered: "I think we're friends, he has a genuine interest in racing, makes his livelihood from it, so he takes my phone calls." Nikolic also emphasised he did not know that Clements had a Betfair account or laid horses until after the stewards' began investigating their relationship. The hearing concludes today & the RADB will announce its decision next Tuesday.