Day At The Track

Outed for 18 months for high cobalt reading

04:41 PM 08 Jul 2015 NZST
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Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards today concluded an inquiry into a report issued from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (RSC) which stated that high levels of Cobalt were detected in the urine samples taken from Pacific Cruza following its winning performance in the Seymour Group Claiming Pace at the harness racing meeting at  Albion Park on 8 April 2014 and Designer Style after its winning performance in the Follow Trottips On Twitter Fillies & Mares Pace at Albion Park on 14 April 2014.

The inquiry commenced on 6 May 2015 and evidence was taken from trainer Shawn Grimsey, who explained his feeding regime and husbandry practices leading up to the races in question.

Evidence was also provided by Professor Paul Mills (University of Queensland), Dr Bruce Young (RSC) and John Smith (legal counsel representative for Mr Grimsey).

Following submissions from Mr Smith, Stewards granted an adjournment of the inquiry to enable Mr Grimsey to provide evidence from Dr Robert Kinobe (James Cook University).

On 25 June, further submissions were tendered by Mr Smith for Mr Grimsey and evidence was also taken from Dr Kinobe.

After consideration an adjournment was again granted to allow Mr Grimsey to consider further evidence that had been tendered.

On 30 July, the inquiry was reconvened and after considering all the available evidence, RQ Stewards charged Mr Grimsey pursuant to Australian Harness Racing (AHR) Rule 190(1) which reads:

“A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances”

CHARGE 1
The particulars of the charge being that licensed trainer Shawn Grimsey presented Pacific Cruza for racing at Albion Park on 8 April 2014 when a urine sample taken from the gelding following its winning performance in Race 7, the Seymour Group Claiming Pace, was found, upon analysis, to contain a prohibited substance, namely Cobalt at a mass concentration of 270 ug/L.

CHARGE 2
The particulars of the charge being that licensed trainer Shawn Grimsey presented Designer Style for racing at Albion Park on 14 April 2014 when a urine sample taken from the filly following its winning performance in Race 6, the Follow Trottips On Twitter Fillies & Mares Pace, was found, upon analysis, to contain a prohibited substance, namely Cobalt at a mass concentration of 230 ug/L.

After due consideration Stewards were of the view that both Charge 1 and Charge 2 could be sustained as issued and formally found Mr Grimsey guilty.
 
In determining an appropriate penalty Stewards were of the view that the following points were relevant:
 
1. Mr Grimsey has held a licence in Queensland since 1995 and has no prior breaches of this rule.
 
2. The level of Cobalt detected in PACIFIC CRUZA, being 270 Ug/L and DESIGNER STYLE being 230 Ug/L.
 
3. The negative impact to the image of Harness Racing and the potential to undermine the integrity of the sport.
 
4. Need for a penalty to serve as a deterrent and to illustrate that the non-standard use of this prohibited substance has no place in the harness racing industry.
 
5. Nature of the substance Cobalt and the potential to compromise the health and welfare of both Pacific Cruza and Designer Style.
 
6. Personal circumstances of Mr Grimsey.
 
Having considered the abovementioned points, Stewards ruled that the imposition of an 18 month disqualification was appropriate.

This penalty will take effect from midnight Wednesday, 8 July 2015.
 
Acting under the provisions of AHR Rule 195, Pacific Cruza was disqualified from its 1st placing at Albion Park on 8 April 2014, and Designer Style was disqualified from its 1st placing at Albion Park on the 14 April 2014 and all other placegetters were amended accordingly.
 
Mr Grimsey was advised of his rights of appeal.

Panel: D Farquharson & A Reardon

 

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