Day At The Track

Russell Commens – 10 months disqualified

10:39 PM 27 Jun 2017 NZST
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Russell Commens
Russell Commens

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards concluded an inquiry that commenced on Thursday June 15, 2017, into a report received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory that plasma Total Carbon Dioxide (TCO2) above the prescribed threshold was detected in a pre-race blood sample taken from SUNDAZFORYUMCHA NZ prior to race 3, DM PLUMBING TROTTERS MOBILE (1609 metres) at Tabcorp Park Menangle on May 9, 2017.

The “B” sample was confirmed by the Racing Science Centre in Queensland.

Mr Commens appeared at the inquiry with legal representation.

Mr Commens provided evidence regarding the training of SUNDAZFORYUMCHA NZ and his husbandry practices.

Evidence was presented to the inquiry by Dr Martin Wainscott and the Certificates of Analysis were also presented in evidence.

Mr Commens pleaded guilty to a charge issued pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) 190 (1), (2) & (4) as stated:

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….

(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 Commens was disqualified for a period of 10 months to commence from May 23, 2017, the date upon which he was stood down pursuant to AHRR 183.

In determining penalty Stewards acknowledged the following;

  • Mr Commens’ guilty plea;

  • This was Mr Commens’ first prohibited substance matter during a 50 year involvement in harness racing;

  • TCO2 is a Class 2 Prohibited Substance (under HRNSW Penalty Guidelines);

  • The level of TCO2 reported;

  • Mr Commens’ licence history and other personal subjective facts.

Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, SUNDAZFORYUMCHA NZ was disqualified from the abovementioned race.

Mr Commens was advised of his right to appeal these decisions.


(02) 9722 6600 •


(02) 9722 6600 •

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