A CALOUNDRA jockey who is suing a weight loss company after he lost weight on one of its products says it has nothing to do with the money – it is about restoring his reputation.
Former Brazilian champion jockey Wanderson D’Avila is claiming $12,500 in lost income as well as an undetermined amount for loss in reputation and embarrassment from the distributors of the slimming spray SensaSlim Solution.
Mr D’Avila, who speaks limited English, said he took the product after seeing it advertised as being able to “spray hunger away” on the current affairs program Today Tonight.
He said he did not realise that the product – now the number one slimming product in Australia – would also spray kilograms away.
Five days after taking SensaSlim, Mr D’Avila’s horse Short Trip was disqualified from a win on the Gold Coast because Mr D’Avila weighed in 0.8kg lighter than his allotted 55.5kg. He was also stood down from riding for a month.
Mr D’Avila, who has been racing for more than 18 years all over the world, said he had “never had something like that happen to me before”.
“I was embarrassed. I want to restore my reputation as I don’t think it was my fault,” he said.
“I thought it was about controlling weight, I didn’t want to lose weight.”
Mr D’Avila’s Gold Coast lawyer Chris Hannay thinks he has a good case.
“The claims are in regard to his reputation and the embarrassment that occurred as a result of promises made. Promises not to do with weight loss, but with reducing hunger,” Mr Hannay said.
“SensaSlim didn’t specify that by taking away hunger, one would lose weight.
“The promises made didn’t fully disclose the issues that might arise from it,” Mr Hannay said.
“He wanted to maintain his weight which is why he wanted to not be hungry, it wasn’t about getting involved in some weight loss product.”
Mr Hannay was hopeful the case could be settled out of court, but SensaSlim director Peter O’Brien said this would not happen.
Mr O’Brien said while he was not without sympathy for the jockey, “it is a matter we’re going to have to defend”.
“It will open a legal minefield for us if we were to admit liability. Our lawyers have spoken to Tabcorp, $250,000 was invested on that race across the country. There was $100,000 worth of winning tickets.
“If we admit liability, the trainer and owner could sue, the people who backed the horse could also have some kind of class action.
“I’m not without sympathy, but we also believe we haven’t done anything wrong and it would suggest this if we apologised.”
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