Day At The Track

Trainers stood down – Irregularities to Cobalt

09:07 PM 21 Mar 2014 NZDT
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Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) today suspended the licenses of trainers Mr Michael Hardy and Mr Rhys Nicolson acting under the provisions of Australian Harness Racing Rule 183.

HRNSW took these measures to protect the integrity of the industry following analytical results received from the Australian Government National Measurement Institute that cobalt was detected above the threshold in samples taken from the following horses and respective harness meetings;

COOGEE COOGEE (M Hardy) following its win in race 7, the Uranquinty Hotel Ladyship Pace (1,755 metres) conducted at Wagga on 24January 2014

THE BIG MARN (R Nicholson) following its win in race 11, the Flying K Final (1000 metres) conducted at Menangle on 21 January 2014.

MAJOR DENIAL (R Nicholson)  following its win in race 1, the Tattersalls Hotel Pace (1710 metres) conducted at Goulburn on 27 January 2014

The “B” samples and associated control samples will now be sent to another approved laboratory for confirmation.


In September 2013, HRNSW issued a notice to industry about the use of Cobalt within the industry and that the misuse of that substance was in breach of the Rules. HRNSW then engaged approved laboratories to undertake the required analysis and research to enable a threshold to be introduced. 

On 16 December 2013 HRNSW introduced a threshold for the substance Cobalt through the introduction of Local Rule 188A (2) which reads:

NSWLR 188A(2) - In addition to AHRR 188A(2) the following substance when present at or above the levels set is deemed a prohibited substance under AHRR 188A(1) (a) & or (b) & or (c):

Cobalt at a level of 200 micrograms per litre in urine.

As at the date on which NSWLR188A(2) takes effect all urine samples taken from a horse prior to that date which have not been adjudicated upon by the Controlling Body shall be dealt with subject to this Rule.

Harness Racing New South Wales

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