Day At The Track

Darrel Graham vows to fight 15-month ban

10:43 PM 30 Aug 2016 NZST
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Darrel Graham
Trainer Darrel Graham says he is bewildered by the cobalt positive returned by Mafuta Vautin at Albion Park last year.

Leading Queensland harness racing trainer Darrel Graham reckons he doesn’t even know how to spell ‘cobalt’ and will fight a 15-month disqualification.

Graham has been banned over his stable star Mafuta Vautin returning a positive test to cobalt in winning the $50,000 Qbred Triad final at Albion Park on May 30 last year.

The industry veteran of more than 30 years is currently training on a stay of proceedings through the QCAT Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. He has also asked for an internal review of the ban through the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

Regardless of the result, Graham says he is bewildered by the cobalt ban and insists he has no plans to walk away from the industry he loves.

“I was a couple of days into a US holiday when I was informed about the swab,” Graham said. “They told me it was cobalt, but at the time I thought they said something else, because I wouldn’t even know how to spell cobalt.

“I told stewards I had 128 winners last season, and I treat all my horses the same. So why was this the only positive, why weren’t there 128 cobalt positives?

“I am totally bewildered by it and I just don’t understand it. One professor seems to have one view about cobalt, yet another professor has a different view.”

Graham says he will continue the fight to clear his name, adamant he has done nothing wrong.

But even if the cobalt disqualification stands, he won’t exit the harness racing industry.

“I just hope we can work out what has happened, clear my name and get the penalty quashed,” Graham said. “But I have the full support of my main owner, and whatever happens, I won’t be walking away from the industry.

“If worst comes to worst, I will go out and get a normal job for a little while before I return to harness racing.”

By Ben Dorries

Reprinted with permission of The Courier Mail

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