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The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards today conducted an inquiry into reports received from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (RSC) that levels of Cobalt above the prescribed threshold have been detected in urine samples taken from Ashleys Angel at Redcliffe on 26 May 2016 Oozinville at Redcliffe on 11 May 2016 and Zac Mac (NZ) at Albion Park on 4 June 2016. Evidence was tendered from trainer Mr. Darren Hooper who explained his feeding and husbandry practices leading up to the races in question. Evidence was also provided by Dr. Karen Caldwell, Acting Manager of Veterinary Services (RSC) and Samantha Nelis, Principal Analyst (RSC). After considering all submissions tendered Stewards granted Darren Hooper an adjournment until Thursday 6 October 2016. Panel – David Farquharson, John Hackett, Paul Gillard

The initial phase of the Cobalt Pilot Research Project, funded by the Ohio State Racing Commission and conducted at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, has been completed. The goals of the study were to assess the physiologic, biochemical and endocrine effects of repeated doses of intravenous cobalt chloride in five Standardbred mares and to investigate the pharmacokinetics of cobalt over a three-month period. Each horse received one of five different doses of cobalt chloride (0.25, 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 mg/kg) weekly for five weeks. A research summary (Intravenous administration of cobalt chloride is associated with hemodynamic alterations in horses by Teresa Burns, Turi Aarnes, Jeffrey Lakritz, Ramiro Toribio) was presented at the 2016 American College of Internal Veterinary Medicine meeting on June 9 in Denver, Colorado. This research documents that cobalt chloride administered intravenously causes horses to become anxious and, at higher doses, to show muscular tremors, pawing and signs of abdominal discomfort. Cardiac arrhythmias, tachycardia, central and peripheral arterial hypertension and renal dysfunction were consistently noted. A transient increase in hematocrit and red blood cell count was noted, however, changes in erythropoietin concentrations or changes in erythropoiesis or red blood cell numbers were not seen during the study period. Baseline plasma cobalt levels in the subject horses were 3.6 ± 3.1 ppb (parts per billion). The plasma half-life of cobalt for all horses in this study was 12 ± 1.4 days and the time required for cobalt to be below 25 ppb ranged from 40 days (0.25 mg/kg dose) to 90 days (4 mg/kg dose). Laboratory and data analyses are ongoing, specifically: measurement of urine cobalt concentrations to further investigate pharmacokinetics of cobalt and measurement of endocrine variables and markers that may be linked to performance. Regardless of what further research may show regarding the effects of elevated levels of blood cobalt on performance, the initial findings of this research prove that cobalt chloride administered intravenously can be harmful to horse. Kimberly Rinker

The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards reconvened an inquiry into a report received from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (RSC) that Cobalt above the prescribed threshold was detected in a post race urine sample taken from Sheza Shadow following its winning performance in Race 4 at Redcliffe on 24 July 2015. Evidence was today provided by trainer Darren Weeks relating to the presentation of that mare for racing. Evidence was also provided by veterinary surgeon Dr Peter Hill, Professor Colin Chapman (University of New England), Professor Paul Mills (University of Queensland), Samantha Nelis (Acting Manager of Analytical Services RSC) and Dr Karen Caldwell (Acting Manager Veterinary Services RSC). Stewards further adjourned the inquiry to a time and date to be fixed to allow them sufficient time to consider all submissions and documentation presented. Stewards’ Report – Darren Weeks Date – 8 September 16 Panel – D Farquharson, K Wolsey, A Reardon ..................................................................................... Stewards Report Rachel Scott Date – 12 September 16 Panel – D Farquharson, K Wolsey, N Torpey The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards today opened an inquiry into the presentation of Nolonga Your Choice NZ for racing at Redcliffe on 2 April 2016 when a pre race urine sample taken from that gelding was reported by the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (RSC) above the prescribed threshold for the substance Cobalt. Evidence was today provided by trainer Rachel Scott, Professor Colin Chapman (University of New England), Professor Paul Mills (University of Queensland), Samantha Nelis (Acting Manager of Analytical Services RSC) and Dr Karen Caldwell (Acting Manager Veterinary Services RSC). Stewards considered an application for an adjournment of the inquiry after a request was made to present further scientific submissions. Stewards adjourned the inquiry to Monday, 19 September 2016 at which time further evidence will be presented by Ms Scott.

Harness Racing South Australian Stewards have received notification from Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) that Cobalt has been detected in the pre-race urine sample taken from RAP ARTIST prior to it competing in, and winning Race 3 the 2016 Sky Racing 3YO Colts & Geldings Southern Cross (Final) at Globe Derby on 30 July 2016.  Trainer Mark Billinger has been notified of the irregularity. The ‘B’ sample has been sent to the Racing Chemistry Laboratory for confirmatory analysis. Acting under Rule 183A RAP ARTIST is not permitted to be nominated for, or compete in any race until the outcome of the inquiry by the Stewards into the swab irregularity.   by Chair of Stewards, Barbara Scott

Leading Queensland harness racing trainer Darrel Graham reckons he doesn’t even know how to spell ‘cobalt’ and will fight a 15-month disqualification. Graham has been banned over his stable star Mafuta Vautin returning a positive test to cobalt in winning the $50,000 Qbred Triad final at Albion Park on May 30 last year. The industry veteran of more than 30 years is currently training on a stay of proceedings through the QCAT Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. He has also asked for an internal review of the ban through the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission. Regardless of the result, Graham says he is bewildered by the cobalt ban and insists he has no plans to walk away from the industry he loves. “I was a couple of days into a US holiday when I was informed about the swab,” Graham said. “They told me it was cobalt, but at the time I thought they said something else, because I wouldn’t even know how to spell cobalt. “I told stewards I had 128 winners last season, and I treat all my horses the same. So why was this the only positive, why weren’t there 128 cobalt positives? “I am totally bewildered by it and I just don’t understand it. One professor seems to have one view about cobalt, yet another professor has a different view.” Graham says he will continue the fight to clear his name, adamant he has done nothing wrong. But even if the cobalt disqualification stands, he won’t exit the harness racing industry. “I just hope we can work out what has happened, clear my name and get the penalty quashed,” Graham said. “But I have the full support of my main owner, and whatever happens, I won’t be walking away from the industry. “If worst comes to worst, I will go out and get a normal job for a little while before I return to harness racing.” By Ben Dorries Reprinted with permission of The Courier Mail

Queensland Harness Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards today concluded an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the analysts’ findings in respect to a pre race urine sample taken from MAFUTA VAUTIN prior to its winning performance in Race 5 The Qbred Triad Final for 4yo Horses and Geldings at Albion Park on Saturday, 30 May 2015 which had been opened and adjourned on 28 July 2016. The Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (RSC) reported a level of Cobalt in the sample in excess of the threshold as prescribed by the Australian Harness Racing Rules. On 5 August, licensed trainer Mr Darrel Graham was charged pursuant to Rule 190(1) which reads:            “A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances” The particulars of the charge being that Mr Graham presented MAFUTA VAUTIN to race in Race 5 at Albion Park on 30 May 2015, when a pre race urine sample taken from that gelding was found, upon analysis, to contain the prohibited substance Cobalt above the prescribed threshold. On 15 August Mr Graham pleaded not guilty to the charge as issued. Mr Graham today provided further submissions to support his plea of not guilty and consideration was given to these submissions in addition to other relevant cases and character references.           After due consideration Stewards were of the view that the charge could be sustained and formally found Mr Graham guilty. When assessing the matter of penalty Stewards gave consideration to the following: The serious nature of the substance concerned and the level of Cobalt recorded (342Ug/L); Mr Graham’s licence history of 30 years and his personal and financial situation; The particular circumstances of the case; The need for a penalty to serve as a deterrent to illustrate that drug free racing is of paramount importance to the integrity of harness racing; Penalty precedents. Mr Graham was disqualified for a period of 15 months effective immediately. Stewards further directed that under Rule 195 MAFUTA VAUTIN be disqualified from its win in Race 5 at Albion Park on 30 May 2015 and all other placegetters be amended accordingly. Mr Graham was advised of his rights to internal review.   Panel: D Farquharson, K Wolsey, N Torpey Racing Queensland

Harness Racing Inquiry: Trish McVeigh Panel: D Farquharson, K Wolsey, N Torpey Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards today inquired into the circumstances surrounding the analysts’ findings in respect to a pre race urine sample taken from ANGUS BROMAC (NZ) prior to it competing in Race 5 at Albion Park on Friday, 20 May 2016. The Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (RSC) reported a level of Cobalt in the sample in excess of the threshold as prescribed by the Australian Harness Racing Rules. Today evidence was provided by trainer Ms Trish McVeigh, who explained the circumstances and possible explanation for the reading and her feeding and husbandry regime in the days prior to racing. After consideration, Ms McVeigh was charged pursuant to Rule 190(1) which reads:            “A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances” The particulars of the charge being that Ms McVeigh presented ANGUS BROMAC (NZ) to race at Albion Park on Friday, 20 May 2016, when a pre race urine sample taken from that horse was found, upon analysis, to contain a prohibited substance, namely Cobalt, above the prescribed threshold. Ms McVeigh pleaded guilty to the charge. When assessing the matter of penalty, Stewards took into account: The nature of the substance concerned and the level of Cobalt recorded (239Ug/L) No previous offences under this rule The circumstances of the case The need for a penalty to serve as a deterrent to illustrate that drug free racing is of paramount importance to the integrity of harness racing. Ms Trish McVeigh was disqualified for 18 months effective immediately. Stewards directed under Rule 195 that ANGUS BROMAC (NZ) be disqualified from its unplaced performance at Albion Park on 20 May 2016 and all other placegetters be amended accordingly. Ms McVeigh was advised of her rights to an internal review of this decision. Queensland Racing Integrity Commission 

Queensland Racing Integrity Commission Stewards has received notification from the Queensland Racing Science Centre that Cobalt in excess of the permitted threshold has been confirmed in a urine sample taken from ASHLEYS ANGEL which competed at Redcliffe on 26 May 2016.Acting under the provisions of AHR 183(a) it has been determined that ASHLEYS ANGEL shall not be nominated or compete in any race until the inquiry has been concluded, and the trainer Darren Hooper has been advised accordingly. Queensland Racing Integrity Commission Stewards has received notification from the Queensland Racing Science Centre that Cobalt in excess of the permitted threshold has been confirmed in a urine sample taken from ZAC MAC NZ which competed at Albion Park 4 June 2016.Acting under the provisions of AHR 183(a) it has been determined that ZAC MAC NZ shall not be nominated or compete in any race until the inquiry has been concluded, and the trainer Darren Hooper has been advised accordingly. Queensland Racing Integrity Commission Stewards has received notification from the Queensland Racing Science Centre that Dexamethasone has been confirmed in a urine sample taken from ROARN which competed at Albion Park 28 May 2016.Acting under the provisions of AHR 183(a) it has been determined that ROARN shall not be nominated or compete in any race until the inquiry has been concluded, and the trainer Kristin Cunningham has been advised accordingly. Queensland Racing Integrity Commission Stewards has received notification from the Queensland Racing Science Centre that Dexamethasone has been confirmed in a urine sample taken from ROARN which competed at Redcliffe on 3 June 2016.Acting under the provisions of AHR 183(a) it has been determined that ROARN shall not be nominated or compete in any race until the inquiry has been concluded, and the trainer Kristin Cunningham has been advised accordingly. For details on Dexamethasone For details on Cobalt

A state court is giving a reprieve to three Maine harness racing horsemen who had been suspended and fined by state regulators over horse doping allegations. In all, the Harness Racing Commission suspended the licenses of seven trainers in Maine for as long as 15 months for administering a substance called cobalt to horses. Their blood was tested after they won races last year. Cobalt is a trace element that can stimulate production of red blood cells and blood-oxygen levels in some animals, but whose role in horse racing is in dispute. Three of the trainers appealed to Superior Court, and late last week Cumberland County Judge Lance Walker stayed the suspensions pending a full trial. Walker cited a lack of scientific evidence or consensus about cobalt’s effects on horse performance. And Bill Childs, a lawyer for two of the trainers, says the judge also cited potential problems with the commission’s rules and notice procedures. “When these cases were prosecuted, there was no rule in effect,” he says. “They took the later adopted rule and tried to retroactively apply it.” Childs says that when trainers Randy Bickmore and Drew Campbell administered cobalt to their horses, they did not actually know whether the substance could enhance a horse’s chance to get to the finish line first. They only knew that it’s a component of vitamin B and might work like some similar human performance enhancers. “They were unsure. We think it benefits the horse. It makes for a better coat on the horse. Vitamin B12 and vitamin B6, both those vitamins have been known to enrich the blood or make a person feel better or make an animal feel better,” Childs says. He says that once the trainers were notified that state regulators considered cobalt to be banned above certain levels, they stopped administering it, and there have been no positive cobalt tests in Maine horses since then. Information collected by a national track veterinarian group called the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium does indicate that in large doses, cobalt can harm equine health, causing profuse sweating and gastrointestinal spasms. And trainers have been penalized in other racing jurisdictions for using cobalt. The chairman of Maine’s Harness Racing Commission, William Varney, says there’s a lot at stake in horse doping cases. “The integrity of racing, the fairness to the other people racing in those areas. And it’s also for the health of the horse,” he says. Varney says the commission is trying to sharpen its oversight of potential horse doping. At its meeting last week the commission authorized staff to begin the process of revising its rules with an eye to making them more transparent, and more effective. The three trainers who challenged their suspensions could be back at the track by Thursday. By Fred Bever Reprinted with permission of Maine Public Broadcasting site.

The Maine State Harness Racing Commission plans on Friday afternoon to release more details about the cases of seven people who have been suspended or fined by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry for supplying cobalt to their horses, according to a report by Portland TV station WCSH. The seven are drivers, trainers or owners of horses and some are appealing the rulings, according to the report. The use of cobalt is banned, as it improves endurance, according to a report on racing.com, and can cause severe side effects in horses. Steven Vafiades of Corinth was hit the hardest for penalties, as he has been suspended 450 days and must repay $23,000 in purse money. He also has been fined $2,250. Others who received suspensions of 450 days were Randy Bickmore, Patricia Switzer and Stephen Murchison. Longtime driver Drew Campbell of Scarborough, who has more 3,500 career victories, was suspended for 270 days. He also was fined $1,250 and must repay $2,150 in purse money. Bickmore, Switzer and Murchison were each fined $2,250, and each must repay purse money ranging from $4,000 to almost $11,000. Allison McDonald was ordered to repay $1,250 in purse money, and Frank Hiscock must repay $1,200. The penalties for Bickmore, Campbell, Vafiades and Switzer were apparently handed down by the Maine Harness Racing Commission in February. The commission is part of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. A report by harnessracingupdate.com on March 6 said it received a penalty summary for those four people from Henry Jennings, the commission’s acting executive director. Although issues with the use of cobalt in horse racing reportedly surfaced as early as 2013, the misuse of the chemical appears to have increased dramatically during 2015. That is the time frame in which the seven Maine harness racing trainers/drivers were found to have abused the substance in their horses. In April, the New York State Gaming Commission levied what were termed unprecedented penalties against six Standardbred horse trainers who had administered doses of cobalt that were deemed potentially dangerous and performance-enhancing in nature. Those trainers are to be suspended or have their licenses revoked entirely and each has been fined at least $25,000, according to a report in the Daily Racing Forum. The cobalt levels in horses trained by three of the individuals were deemed to be so serious that those individuals will be banned from harness racing for 10 years. The violations involving the six New York trainers occurred at Monticello Casino and Raceway, Saratoga Casino and Raceway and Yonkers Raceway during March 2016. The New York State Gaming Commission also has referred the violations to law enforcement, opening the door for possible animal cruelty charges. According to thoroughbredracing.com, cobalt is a substance that occurs as part of the vitamin B12 complex and is present naturally in horses at low levels. However, it gained attention as a performance enhancer in horses because it stimulates the production of the hormone erythropoietin, which promotes the formation of red blood cells. The result is better endurance and decreased muscle fatigue. However, high doses of cobalt can have major health ramifications for horses. It can produce abnormal sweating, anxiety and trembling. A study by Dr. Mary Scollay, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission equine medical director, found that high doses of cobalt also interfere with the clotting of blood. Reprinted with permission of The Bangor Daily News

Seven people working in Maine harness racing have been suspended or fined by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry for supplying cobalt to their horses, according to a report by Portland TV station WCSH. The seven are drivers, trainers or owners of horses and some are appealing the rulings, according to the report. The use of cobalt is banned as it improves endurance, according to a report on racing.com, and can cause severe side effects in horses. Steven Vafiades of Corinth was hit the hardest for penalties as he has been suspended 450 days and must repay $23,000 in purse money. He also has been fined $2,250. Others who received suspensions of 450 days were Randy Bickmore, Patricia Switzer and Stephen Murchison. Longtime driver Drew Campbell of Scarborough, who has more 3,500 career victories, was suspended for 270 days. He also was fined $1,250 and must repay $2,150 in purse money. Bickmore, Switzer and Murchison were each fined $2,250, and each must repay purse money ranging from $4,000 to almost $11,000. Allison McDonald was ordered to repay $1,250 in purse money, and Frank Hiscock must repay $1,200. The penalties for Bickmore, Campbell, Vafiades and Switzer were apparently handed down by the Maine Harness Racing Commission in February. The commission is part of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. A report by harnessracingupdate.com on March 6 said it received a penalty summary for those four people from Henry Jennings, the commission’s acting executive director. Reprinted with permission of The Bangor Daily News 

The Ohio State Racing Commission (OSRC) today adopted resolution (2016-05) which established thresholds and penalties for Cobalt violations, effective April 15, 2016, the day testing begins for Cobalt at all Ohio harness racing racetracks. They are as follows: Cobalt concentrations of less than 25 ppb (parts per billion) of blood serum or plasma will have no penalty; For Cobalt concentrations of 25 ppb or greater but less than 50 ppb of blood serum or plasma, the recommended penalty is a written warning; For Cobalt concentrations of 50 ppb or greater of blood serum or plasma, the recommended penalty is a “B” penalty from the Association of Racing Commissioners International's (ARCI) “Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances & Recommended Penalties & Model Rules Version 11.0 and are as follows; o   First Offence:  Minimum 15-day suspension, $500 fine & loss of purse o   Second Offence: Minimum 30-day suspension, $1,000 fine & loss of purse o   Third Offence: Minimum 60-day suspension, $1,000 fine & loss of purse & referred to the OSRC for further action; Any Cobalt concentration exceeding 250 ppb of blood serum or plasma will be referred to the OSRC for further action; For Cobalt concentrations of 25ppb or greater of blood serum or plasma, the recommended penalty includes the placement of the horse on the Veterinarian's List with removal from this list only after a blood test confirms that the Cobalt concentration is below 25 ppb of blood plasma or serum. Testing costs shall be paid by the owner(s) of the horse; These offenses are for any Cobalt violation in any jurisdiction within any 365 day period. Horsemen who have recently claimed or acquired a horse are encouraged to consult their veterinarian and have their horse tested. Dr. James Robertson, OSRC consulting veterinarian, reported on the Ohio State University (OSU) Cobalt Pilot Study, and said the Ohio Department of Agriculture Analytical Toxicology Laboratory (ODA-ATL) has completed analysis of the blood samples for plasma Cobalt concentrations. The first publication from this study, an abstract entitled “Intravenous administration of Cobalt chloride is associated with the hemodynamic alterations in horses” will be presented at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine meeting in Denver, Colorado on June 9, 2016.  Dr. Teresa Burns will present the abstract, which will be published in the meeting proceedings. Dr. Robertson added the study has documented high levels of Cobalt chloride administered intravenously can have serious toxic effects on the cardiovascular system of a horse. Kimberly A. Rinker Ohio Standardbred Development Fund Ohio State Racing Commission 77 S. High Street, 18th Floor Columbus, Ohio 43215-6108  

The HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today released its decision with respect to charges issued by Harness Racing Victoria Stewards against licensed trainer Mr Craig Demmler. Mr Demmler pleaded guilty to having presented the horse Christian Torado to race at Cranbourne on 19 October 2014 whilst not free of the prohibited substance cobalt.  Taking into account Mr Demmler having already served a period of two months suspension in relation to this matter, the HRV RAD Board imposed a further 12 month disqualification to commence midnight 27 March 2016.  Mr Demmler was also fined $250 after pleading guilty to a charge relating to his failure to maintain a log book. The HRV RAD Board decision can be viewed here:  

Police have moved to ban a Mokbel family associate and accused race-fixer from Victorian harness racing tracks. Paul Sequenzia was recently asked to leave a restricted area at a metropolitan meeting by Harness Racing Victoria investigators. They want to take that further and have made a submission for Victoria Police to ban him from tracks. Mr Sequenzia remains a regular presence at harness-racing meetings, to the concern of some industry figures. Allegations he has been involved in a cobalt horse-doping program and that he is connected to a race-fixing syndicate have some questioning what he is doing on-track. To read the full article written by Mark Buttler and Carly Crawford for The Herald Sun click on this link.

Following a detailed investigation the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) has charged the trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott with three breaches of Rule 804 (2) of the New Zealand Rules of Thoroughbred Racing.  The charges relate to presenting three horses to race with a prohibited substance, namely, Cobalt at a level above the threshold of 200ug/L.  The investigation showed that the circumstances surrounding the cobalt positives in New Zealand were significantly different to the recent Australian cases, where trainers were charged with the administration of a prohibited substance.  An explanation provided by Wexford Stables was that their horses had been exposed to heavily cobalt dosed water troughs the horses shared with dairy cattle. As part of our investigation the RIU undertook a series of trials that proved that cobalt levels above 200ug/L can come about by the oral feeding of cobalt in high concentrations.  The trials were carried out by Dr Andrew Grierson Veterinary, advisor to the RIU. The trial and its results have been peer reviewed and confirmed by Professor Stuart Paine, an international expert on the subject.    An application has been made for the disqualification of the horses, Sound Proposition, from its third placing in the NZ Derby on 28 February 2015 at Auckland, Quintastics, from its first placing at Matamata on 11 March 2015 and Suffire, from its first placing on 5 February 2015 at Tauranga.    The Cobalt readings for the three horses were -  Sound Proposition 541  Quintastics 640  Suffire 309    The charges will be heard by the Judicial Control Authority (JCA), an independent racing judicial body.    As the matter is now before the JCA no further comment will be made.  Questions and Answers relating to Cobalt and the Charges  1.    What is Cobalt?  It is an essential trace element required for life and naturally occurring in horses, dogs and other mammals.  2.    Why is it a Prohibited Substance?  Cobalt  administered in amounts much greater than required for normal living has been demonstrated to have an effect on the blood system by stimulating the production of red blood cells (erythropoiesis). The effect being similar to EPO. 3.  Why is there a threshold for cobalt?  This is because it is naturally occurring in horses and so a level has been set above what could be considered to be a range for a normal population. The threshold of 200 ug/L has been set for the equine racing codes in Australia and NZ. This was based on a study of 2,000 samples taken from horses across Australasia. The study was carried out by the Chemistry Centre (WA), an internationally accredited racing laboratory in Perth, Western Australia and the statistical analysis of the results was carried out by Emeritus Professor Brynn Hiddert of the University of NSW.  4.    How much Drug testing is carried out in NZ racing?  As drug testing is a key platform of the racing industry’s integrity strategy each racing season over 12,000 drug tests are carried out.  5.    Why has the O’Sullivan/Scott investigation taken eight months?  Cobalt is a newly identified performance enhancing drug and therefore the number of studies on how it can be applied to breach the threshold have been limited. This has meant that both in Australia and NZ significant time has been spent investigating this area and carrying out trials. Trials not only take time to be completed they have to be ethically approved and the results analysed and peer reviewed.    6.    What is the difference in being charged with administration of a prohibited substance and charged with presenting a horse to race with a prohibited substance?  The charge of administration is made where there is evidence that there was deliberate administration of the prohibited substance. The charge of presenting is where there is no evidence of deliberate administration or where the prohibited substance entered the animals system through negligence, contamination or some other means.  7.    What are the potential penalties for the charges?  Up to 5 years suspension or disqualification and up to $25,000 fine. New Zealand Racing Integrity Unit

Racing Queensland Stewards have today disqualified harness trainer Paul McGregor from racing for a period of 18 months effectively immediately after he pleaded guilty to presenting a horse with elevated cobalt levels. At an inquiry held into a post-race urine sample taken from GOTTA GO ARTELECT (NZ) following its winning performance in Race 6 at Albion Park on Tuesday, 30 June 2015, McGregor pleaded guilty to a charge under Rule 190 (1) in that he presented the horse with the prohibited substance cobalt above the prescribed threshold. In determining an appropriate penalty in this matter, RQ Stewards gave consideration to the following: -       The serious nature of the substance concerned and the level of Cobalt recorded (250Ug/L) -       No previous offences under this rule in a licence history of 28 years; -       The particular circumstances of the case; -       The need for a penalty to serve as a deterrent to illustrate that drug free racing is of paramount importance to the integrity of harness racing; -       Penalty precedents; -       Mr McGregor’s guilty plea; and -       The manner in which he conducted himself throughout the inquiry. Stewards further directed that under Rule 195 GOTTA GO ARTELECT (NZ) be disqualified from its win in Race 6 at Albion Park on 30 June 2015 and all other placegetters be amended accordingly. Mr McGregor was advised of his rights of appeal. Racing Queensland is due to conduct seven other inquiries relating to horses returning elevated cobalt levels across the three racing codes in the coming weeks. For further information please contact Communications Manager Adam Gardini on 0438 733 738 or email agardini@racingqueensland.com.au

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