Day At The Track

Serious drug charge downgraded

06:36 PM 20 Nov 2015 NZDT
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
Andrew Grant - Has had serious drug charges downgraded
Andrew Grant - Has had serious drug charges downgraded

Pukekohe harness trainer Andrew Grant is likely to retain his trainer's licence after having a serious drugs charge downgraded.

Grant was to face a charge of drug administration but it was downgraded by the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) immediately before a Judicial Control Authority (JCA) hearing in Auckland on Thursday.

When new information came to light proceeding the hearing, the RIU and council for Grant mutually agreed the charges be downgraded to the lesser charge of failing to present a horse free of prohibited substances which Grant was prepared to plead guilty to.

Pukekohe trainer Alan Lynch was disqualified for four years back in October after being found guilty on three charges of administration for Aminorex.

Pukekohe trainer Alan Lynch was disqualified for four years back in October after being found guilty on three charges of administration for Aminorex.

Details of the new evidence will remain murky until the JCA release their full decision, which is likely to come in around two weeks when it hands down its penalty with all parties having the opportunity to make submissions.

A fine is likely.

Grant was initially charged with drug administration for Aminorex after a trotter he trains and co-owns, Majestic One, returned a positive swab for the substance - that is similar to methamphetamine - in a post-race swab after a two and a quarter length victory at Alexandra Park on July 3.

The victory was the only win for the now 5-year-old mare in her seven starts.

Fellow Pukekohe trainer Alan Lynch, who was charged by the RIU at the same time as Grant (August 3), for three counts of administration for Aminorex, was disqualified for four years last month.

Both trainers are believed to have given their horses the worming drench Scanda, which contains Levamisole and is commonly used for sheep, pigs and cattle.

While Levamisole is itself not a banned substance, it breaks down into Aminorex, a class one drug similar to methamphetamine.

Over the three charges Lynch was disqualified for 15 months, two years and six months and four years but the JCA ruled that the three penalties are to be served concurrently.

Had Grant been found guilty to drug administration, he could have been banned for any period up to and including a life ban.

In simple terms, drug administration carries much higher penalties than the lesser charge Grant plead guilty to because it proves the drug was administered by the person charged rather than it inadvertently being found in the horses system by unknown causes.

A JCA document that outlines the decision into Lynch's disqualification stated his trotter This Sky Rox returned three positives for Aminorex in post race swabs at Alexandra Park on June 12, 19 and July 10.

Lynch did not admit the breaches, but did confirm he accepted swabbing procedures and the results of analysis carried out on post-race urine samples taken from This Sky Rox.

At his hearing, Lynch offered several explanations as to how the substance may have inadvertently found its way into This Sky Rox's system but the RIU said it was highly likely Lynch administered Scanda within 24 hours of racing on all three occasions.

RIU manager of integrity and assurance Neil Grimstone described Lynch's explanations as fanciful and contrary to evidence given by Dr Andrew Grierson, chief veterinarian for Harness Racing New Zealand.

Grimstone said Lynch's explanations around the timing of administration were highly unreliable and had likely been manufactured by Lynch to suit his predicament.

This Sky Rox was a race winner on June 19 but was later disqualified from all three races and connections forced to return stakes.

Majestic One will be disqualified from her race win with connections forced to forfeit the winning stakes.

It is the second time Lynch, 48, has been caught using the drench. In August, 2012, only three months after being licensed in Queensland, a winner he trained at Albion Park, Hitemup, tested positive to Levamisole and Aminorex.

He pleaded guilty and was banned for six months.

Mat Kermeen

Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ   -   Check site here

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: