UPDATE: Former rugby league star Andrew Johns has backflipped on his decision not to give evidence at a Racing NSW inquiry into the performance of top mare More Joyous when she was unplaced in the All Aged Stakes at Randwick on April 27.
Despite being key figures in the drama, Johns, former jockey Allan Robinson and brothel owner Eddie Hayson did not attend the inquiry which opened in Sydney on Monday.
The trio are are key witnesses in the inquiry involving Singleton and trainer Gai Waterhouse, based on alleged conversations and telephone calls made between them and Singleton after Johns spoke to bookmaker Tom Waterhouse on April 25.
Chief steward Ray Murrihy yesterday gave them a second opportunity to appear and give evidence in person, warning that failure to do so could see them banned from race meetings and racecourses for life.
Robinson was the first to concede, agreeing to attend through his lawyer Chris Murphy who tweeted his client would give evidence: "Subject to medical clearance & an absolute guarantee of civility & consideration".
Later in the day Johns also changed his mind, contacting Murrihy to confirm he would attend. No statement had been forthcoming from Hayson.
Robinson and Johns were interviewed by stewards and provided sworn statements last week, but their appearance in person before the inquiry is seen as vital to stewards determining if Tom Waterhouse had prior knowledge about the condition of More Joyous before she raced.
Andrew Johns tangled up in Singleton and Waterhouse affair
FORMER rugby league star Andrew Johns emerged as one of the key players in the More Joyous inquiry that opened in Sydney yesterday, but was not present to answer questions.
Racing NSW stewards launched the inquiry after allegations by the mare's owner, businessman John Singleton, that he had been told before her second-last placed effort in the All Aged Stakes at Randwick on April 27 that the horse could not win.
Speaking at the inquiry, Singleton said Johns had said to him before the race, "the horse is off".
Singleton also said on the Tuesday afterwards, Johns told him he had been concerned he had "embellished" the information, admitting he had "a bit too much to drink" at the football on the Friday night where he talked to bookmaker Tom Waterhouse, the son of Gai Waterhouse who trained More Joyous.
Tom told the inquiry he had not spoken to anyone about the mare's chances, and Gai said she was prepared to "swear on a stack of bibles" that she had not spoken to her husband Robbie or Tom about the condition of More Joyous in lead up to the race.
While Johns did not attend to give evidence, he was interviewed by stewards for more than two hours on Friday.
The inquiry was also told that apart from having a slightly high white cell count, and not eating all of her food in the lead up to the All Aged Stakes, several vet inspections had found no abnormalities.
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