Day At The Track

David Aiken – Inquiry concluded

07:37 PM 24 May 2018 NZST
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 David Aiken,Harness racing
David Aiken

ON Monday 30 April 2018, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards commenced an Inquiry into reports received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that O-desmethylvenlafaxine had been detected in the post-race urine samples taken from the following horses:

  • MAORISFAVOURITESUN following its win in Race 7 at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 7 October 2017;

  • MAORISFAVOURITESUN following its win in Race 9 at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 11 November 2017;

  • CHARLIE MACHSHEEN following its win in Race 8 at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday 14 November 2017

The ‘B’ samples were confirmed by Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) in Victoria. O-desmethylvenlafaxine was not detected in the control samples.

Mr Aiken appeared at the Inquiry and presented evidence in relation to his registered training establishment. Mrs Colleen Aiken, a licensed stablehand, was also present and provided evidence as a representative of Mr Aiken’s stable and as an owner of the horse MAORISFAVOURITESUN. In addition, licensed stablehand Mr Malcolm Locke was present and provided evidence to the Inquiry.

A number of documents were entered into evidence at the Inquiry including the Certificates of Analysis in relation to each of the post-race urine samples and a number of exhibits obtained by HRNSW Stewards, including the analytical results for recycled water samples obtained from the paddock utilised by Mr Aiken within the Menangle Park Training Centre.

HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian, Dr Martin Wainscott, was also present and provided evidence to the Inquiry that the presence of O-desmethylvenlafaxine detected in the urine samples had resulted from contamination within the stable environment.

HRNSW Stewards issued three (3) charges against Mr Aiken and Mr Locke pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 190 (1), (2), (3) & (4) as follows:

AHRR 190.  (1)  A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances.

(2)  If a horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1) the trainer of the horse is guilty of an offence.

(3)  If a person is left in charge of a horse and the horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1), the trainer of the horse and the person left in charge is each guilty of an offence.

(4)  An offence under sub rule (2) or sub rule (3) is committed regardless of the circumstances in which the prohibited substance came to be present in or on the horse.

Mr Aiken and Mr Locke were each found guilty of those charges and provided submissions in relation to the matter of penalty. The Inquiry was adjourned for Stewards to determine the matter of penalty.

On 21 May 2018, Mr Aiken was informed by written decision that HRNSW Stewards had imposed a period of disqualification of four (4) months for each offence.

  • The circumstances of this matter including evidence of Dr Wainscott in relation to contamination;

  • Class 2 Prohibited Substance;

  • Mr Aiken’s licence history, offence record, training record during a 42-year involvement in the harness racing industry;

  • Mr Aiken’s personal subjective facts;

  • Mr Aiken’s prior prohibited substance offence in 2000;

  • Mr Aiken’s not guilty plea.

On that date, Mr Locke was also informed by written decision that HRNSW Stewards had imposed a period of disqualification of six (6) months for each offence.

In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following;

  • The circumstances of this matter including evidence of Dr Wainscott in relation to contamination;

  • Class 2 Prohibited Substance;

  • Mr Locke’s licence history and offence record;

  • No previous prohibited substance matters;

  • Mr Locke’s personal subjective facts;

  • Mr Locke’s not guilty plea.

Due to the fact that Mr Aiken and Mr Locke were informed of the first sample irregularity following the date of the second sample having been obtained and on the same day that the third sample was obtained, Stewards ordered that the three (3) periods of disqualification be served concurrently.

Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, MAORISFAVOURITESUN and CHARLIE MACHSHEEN were disqualified from the abovementioned races.

Mr Aiken and Mr Locke have lodged appeals against these decisions.

Mr Aiken has been granted a Stay of Proceedings by the NSW Racing Appeals Tribunal.

 

MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY MANAGER

(02) 9722 6600 •  mprentice@hrnsw.com.au

GRANT ADAMS | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS

(02) 9722 6600 •  gadams@hrnsw.com.au

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