Harness Racing South Australia Stewards finalised an inquiry that was opened on 30 July 2015 into a report from Racing Analytical Services Ltd (RASL) that a blood sample taken from SIR ROBERTY BOB at Globe Derby on 25 July 2015 prior to it competing in Race 6, returned on initial screening an elevated total carbon dioxide (TCO2) concentration of 36.9 millimoles per litre. RASL conducted further testing on this pre-race blood sample and reported a TCO2 level of 36 for the ‘A’ sample and 36.5 for the ‘B’ sample. On 20 August 2015 and 24 August 2015 non-raceday blood samples were taken from SIR ROBERTY BOB with RASL reporting TCO2 levels of 33.4 and 31.1 respectively. On 29 August 2015 a pre-race blood sample was taken from SIR ROBERTY BOB prior to it racing at Globe Derby. RASL reported the TCO2 level to be 31.9. The inquiry resumed on 24 September 2015 and evidence was taken from trainer Rick Frearson regarding his feeding and husbandry practices together with details of his movements on 25 July 2015. Evidence was also taken from Veterinarian Dr. Roger Haensel which included that for a horse to return a TCO2 level of 36.9, 36 and 36.5, in his opinion, it would have received alkalising agents on raceday. Stewards submitted into evidence the pre-race TCO2 levels of SIR ROBERTY BOB dating back to 2010, the pre-race TCO2 levels of other horses currently in Rick Frearsons care and the average TCO2 levels of all horses tested in SA over the past 3 seasons, that being 30.99. On 20 October 2015 the inquiry resumed and Rick Frearson was charged under Rule 193(3) which states: A person shall not administer or allow or cause to be administered any medication to a horse on race day prior to such horse running in a race. Stewards were mindful of Rule 193(6) which states: for the purposes of this rule medication means any treatment with drugs or other substances. The particulars being that Rick Frearson, as the trainer of SIR ROBERTY BOB has allowed or caused that horse to be administered a medication on raceday prior to the horse running in a race. Stewards are of the opinion that a trainer has an obligation under the rules to ensure his horses are safeguarded on raceday and he should take steps to prevent unauthorised administration on raceday and the days leading up to raceday. In determining penalty stewards took into account Rick Frearson’s personal circumstances, his record as a trainer which included a previous offence for prohibited substances and his not guilty plea. Rick Frearson had his trainers licence suspended for 6 months. Acting under Rule 193(5), stewards ordered that SIR ROBERTY BOB be disqualified from Race 6 at Globe Derby on 25 July 2015 and the placegetters be amended accordingly. by Barbara Scott, Chair of Stewards
As racing steward Terry Bailey stumbled on to his nature strip, clutching a tribal carving for defence seconds after gunfire peppered his suburban family home, he confronted two new realities. His world as sheriff of the track had changed forever: criminal elements had taken the fight straight to his doorstep only days before the Melbourne Cup. His second thought provided little comfort: the shooter could be anyone among a bulging Rolodex of enemies the 48-year-old chief steward had accumulated during a meteoric rise from Rockhampton racetrack to the hallowed turf of Flemington. Among the beaming celebrities and corporate suits in the luxurious marquees of the Birdcage from today, the party will barely miss a beat: DJs, champagne, fashion and some stunning feats of equine athleticism. But the racing industry — and its top cop — have been blasted into a new and terrifying era. Bailey speaks with a slow, nasal drawl that betrays his humble origins as the son of a cop who grew up in the backblocks of Queensland and NSW. But, up close, his eyes twinkle with a raw intelligence that smart folk quickly detect. John “The Sheriff” Schreck, perhaps the most famous steward in Australian turf history, saw that glimmer in Bailey’s eye and plucked him from obscurity at Rockhampton and put him on the path to the big league. “I first met him when he was still at school and he was working as a gofer on the track at Rockhampton — all he ever wanted to do was be involved in the administration of racing,’’ he tells The Weekend Australian in his first extended interview since the shooting. “His work ethic was quite outstanding and his common sense.” Today the stakes are astronomically higher, the villains smarter and far more ruthless, but Bailey hasn’t lost his laconic bush sense of humour. “I don’t have any other interests in life so, I presume, this is the common denominator,’’ he said the morning after an unknown enemy had pumped six rounds from a semi-automatic weapon into the front door of his suburban Melbourne house. “If they want to find you, they’ll find you.” Now, as the $16 billion racing industry begins its biggest week of the year, with the eyes of the racing world fixed on Melbourne, he and his family (a wife and two teen daughters he “idolises”) are living out of a safe house with a security detail attached to them 24/7. The attack was written up this week as the moment that racing lost its innocence, a description that didn’t pass the laugh test even for those who love the so-called sport of kings. “Don’t they remember (gangster) Tony Mokbel betting up a storm? Or (a certain jockey) taking bungs? Or the Smoking Aces (race-fixing) case? Or the cobalt scandal,’’ one world-weary racing fan mused. But Bailey’s mentor Schreck, who was the Australian Jockey Club’s chief steward for 15 years and did stints in senior roles in Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau, believes the attack on his friend and protege marks a significant new low and racing needs to recognise it. “It’s a bloody awful thing and it’s done untold damage to horse racing in this country,’’ he said. “He (Bailey) would be terribly disturbed about it and worried for his family. In the future, when Terry Bailey moves back home I would expect he will have CCTV throughout the house. I never thought I would see those days. It’s just gangster stuff, isn’t it?” Gunshots flying into the home of the industry’s top cop is undoubtedly a new low, but villains have always lurked in the shadows of horse racing. There was the Fine Cotton scandal in the 1980s, George Freeman roaming Sydney tracks before that — the links even go back to the days of John Wren, depicted in Frank Hardy’s Power Without Glory. In more recent times, there has also been the unsolved execution-style murder of horse trainer Les Samba, gunned down on a Melbourne street in 2011. The jailed drug lord Tony Mokbel was a horse owner and reputedly still punts from his maximum-security prison, having led the so-called Tracksuit Gang in the 1980s and 90s, trading words and tips at racecourses across Australia. His brother Horty Mokbel was banned from tracks in 2004. Mick Gatto, who shot dead gangland killer Andrew “Benji’’ Veniamin more than a decade ago but beat a murder charge, is also now banned from racetracks and Crown casino. Carl Williams, the murderer who was killed in jail, was at the epicentre of Melbourne’s gangland war. He loved a punt as well. As did Alphonse Gangitano, once the public but violent face of the Carlton Crew. His interest in horse racing and protection rackets ended with his death in 1998 at the hands of — police believe — Jason Moran. The Morans had close links with racing and Jason Moran was accused of triggering the underworld war that killed dozens. He, too, is no longer with us. Beyond the glittering success of the Flemington carnival, racing has for years been locked in a struggle to expel criminal elements, with Bailey at the vanguard. Pretty much ever since he was lured from the Gold Coast to clean up harness racing in Victoria, he has had a tiger by the tail. Bailey soon unearthed a race-fixing scandal involving the use of a drug known as Blue Magic. In a move that foreshadowed his aggressive style, he liaised closely with police and used covert surveillance to build a case that culminated in raids in Australia and New Zealand that would smash a crime syndicate. He parlayed that success into a shift into thoroughbreds — the main game — where he became one of the youngest chief stewards in Victorian history, replacing stalwart Des Gleeson. As Bailey drove a more aggressive enforcement culture, that Rolodex of enemies continued to grow. His detractors accuse him of the law enforcement equivalent of “managing up” — kicking the shit out of industry participants to garner publicity and to further his own career. He tangled with talented but troubled jockey Danny Nikolic, pursuing the hoop unsuccessfully over the so-called Betfair scandal and then the Smoking Aces race-fixing probe. Nikolic was cleared on both, but it was the start of a bloody war of attrition between the steward and jockey that would ultimately see Bailey get his man following a clash outside the steward’s tower in which Nikolic is alleged to have said: “We’ve all got families, c---, and we know where yours live ...” Nikolic, who was banned for two years, denied making the comment and was not commenting on this week’s incident. Bailey has been unrelenting in driving higher integrity standards, pushing for covert surveillance of stables and demanding trainers give his officials keys to their stable doors and even seeking to implant a spy in one stable. He found himself at the centre of the most high-profile drug case in the sport’s recent history when big-name trainers Peter Moody, Mark Kavanagh and Danny O’Brien were charged over positive swabs for cobalt returned by horses in their care. The cases continue to grind on, further damaging the sport’s image as ever darker secrets emerge, such as the reported links between a vet involved in supplying cobalt and organised criminals with ties to the harness racing world. It is true that racing has taken big strides towards a far more ruthless enforcement culture, introducing tough drug standards and investing in testing laboratories that keep officials close on the heels of biochemists. Victoria’s Racing Integrity Commissioner, Sal Perna, says on top of sophisticated race-day betting analysis teams, racing now has its own compliance and audit squads. “These are guys who are jumping the fences of trainers’ properties and checking the stables and drug testing,’’ he said. “Integrity has become much (more) important. Racing’s success is based on public confidence. If the public don’t have confidence in integrity, they won’t bet, then there’s less money coming in.” Racing Australia chief executive Peter McGauran says the brazen gun attack is a wake-up call for the federal government, which must let the industry’s integrity bodies have better access to phone call and intercept data to protect the sport from organised crime. “If there are criminal elements capable of that here you can only imagine what those associated with illegal Asian bookmaking are capable of,” he said. Racing commentator Richard Freedman, the brother of Melbourne Cup winning trainers Lee and Anthony Freedman, says the attack on Bailey comes at a bad time for the sport but he doesn’t believe it will have a lasting negative effect. “I don’t want to sound blase about what happened to Terry because it’s appalling, but you have to take the long view — in the long term, the sport will be better.” Freedman agrees that racing is suffering from “the Tour de France syndrome”. “If you attempt to tackle cheats in your sport, you will expose yourself to claims your sport is full of cheats, because you will find them,’’ he said. By Rick Wallace Reprinted with permission of The Australian.com.au site
Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) yesterday conducted an inquiry into a report received from the Australian Government National Measurement Institute that Cobalt above the threshold was detected in a post race urine sample taken from MARION KEISKER NZ following its win in race 3, the ARTHUR J GALLAGHER PACE (1720 metres) conducted at Dubbo on 17 May 2015. Mr Ron Lloyd appeared at the inquiry. Evidence including the Reports of Analysis was presented to the Inquiry. Evidence was also taken from Mr Lloyd regarding the training of MARION KEISKER NZ, his husbandry practices and circumstances preceding the race. Evidence was also presented to the Inquiry by HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Don Colantonio, Mr John Palmer and Mr Joshua Willick. Mr Lloyd was issued with a charge pursuant to Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting MARION KEISKER NZ to race not free of a prohibited substance. He pleaded guilty to that charge. In addition, Mr Lloyd was issued with a charge pursuant to Rule 190B for failing at all times to keep and maintain a log book. He pleaded guilty to that charge. Mr Lloyd was disqualified for a period of 11 years 3 months to commence from 7 August 2015 the date upon which he was stood down. In relation to the charge pursuant to Rule 190B, Mr Lloyd was fined the amount of $200. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following; This was Mr Lloyd’s 3rd offence for a Prohibited Substance; Class 1 Prohibited Substance under the HRNSW Penalty Guidelines; Level of substance detected (780 ug/L); Mr Lloyd’s licence history and other personal subjective facts. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, MARION KEISKER NZ was disqualified from the abovementioned race. Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 31 racing clubs across the State. HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government. Reid Sanders
ONE of Tasmania's leading harness racing trainer-drivers Nathan Ford was last week disqualified for four years on two charges of allegedly providing urine samples which DNA analysis has allegedly proved not to be his. Ford provided the two urine samples at a Tasmanian Pacing Club meeting in Hobart on May 24. Ford was charged and found guilty under AHRR 243 which stages that a person employed, engaged or participating in the harness racing industry shall not behave in a way that is prejudicial or detrimental to the industry. During the inquiry evidence was taken from representatives of Racing Analytical Services Ltd, the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory, the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine and the defendant. Ford was assisted in the inquiry by barrister Carolyn Graves and Dr Michael Robertson. Tasmanian Harness Racing chairman of stewards Adrian Crowther, who chaired yesterday's inquiry, confirmed Ford had been charged with substituting someone else's urine sample for his own on two occasions after he had been instructed by stewards to provide a urine sample as a part of routine swab sampling of drivers at that meeting. In determining penalty stewards took into consideration Ford's not guilty plea and his personal circumstances. Crowther said the extremity of the penalty also was as a result of the serious nature of the offences which pose a threat to the integrity and the public confidence in harness race and that Ford's actions undermine the importance of drug testing as a means of ensuring the safety and welfare of participants. Ford was disqualified for 18 months on the first offence and 2-1/2 years on the second offence. Ford has successfully lodged an appeal against both the charge and penalty and has been given a stay of proceedings. Peter Staples
The Office of Racing Integrity stewards have concluded an inquiry which began on 26 August 2015 into the results of analysis on human urine samples provided by harness racing driver Nathan Ford at the Tasmanian Pacing Club meeting on 24 May 2015. During the inquiry evidence was taken from representatives of Racing Analytical Services Ltd, the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory, the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine and Nathan Ford. Mr Ford was assisted in the inquiry by Barrister Carolyn Graves and Dr Michael Robertson. Mr Ford was found guilty on two (2) charges under AHRR 243, which states: “A person employed, engaged or participating in the harness racing industry shall not behave in a way which is prejudicial or detrimental to the industry.” In determining penalty, stewards took into consideration: Mr Ford’s not guilty plea; his personal circumstances; the serious nature of the offences, which pose a threat to the integrity and public confidence in harness racing; and that Mr Ford’s actions undermine the importance of drug testing as a means of ensuring the safety and welfare of participants. Stewards issued Mr Ford with the following penalties: On the first charge Mr Ford was disqualified for a period of 18 months, which was discounted by two months to allow for the time he had been stood down from driving pending the inquiry. On the second charge Mr Ford was disqualified for a period of two and a half years. The disqualifications are to be served cumulatively and will expire at midnight on 8 August 2019. Adrian Crowther Chairman of Stewards - Harness
Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) conducted an inquiry yesterday into a report received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory that Chlorpheniramine and Desmethyl Chlorpheniramine were detected in the urine sample taken from ILLAWONG ARMSTRONG following race 7, the BULLI HRC NSW TROTTERS DERBY (GROUP 1) (2400 metres) conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 30 May 2015. Ms Quinlan appeared at the inquiry and on submission Stewards permitted representation by Mr Hammond, a solicitor. Evidence including the Reports of Analysis and expert evidence from HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Don Colantonio were presented. Evidence was also taken from Ms Quinlan regarding the training of ILLAWONG ARMSTRONG, her husbandry practices and circumstances leading up to the race. Mr Hammond provided evidence from veterinarian, Dr Andrew Clarke, on behalf of Ms Quinlan. Ms Quinlan pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting ILLAWONG ARMSTRONG to race not free of a prohibited substance. Ms Quinlan was disqualified for a period of 3 months to commence immediately. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following; This was Ms Quinlan’s 1st offence for a Prohibited Substance;Ms Quinlan’s guilty plea;Class 3 Prohibited Substance;Ms Quinlan’s unblemished disciplinary record in twenty-five years as a licensed person and other personal subjective facts, including ambassadorial roles. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, ILLAWONG ARMSTRONG was disqualified from the abovementioned race. The race in question Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 31 racing clubs across the State. HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government.
Victorian Harness Racing participants are reminded of the provisions of the Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 194 which provides: A person who procures or attempts to procure or who has in his possession or on his premises or under his control any substance or preparation that has not been registered, labelled, prescribed, dispensed or obtained in compliance with relevant State and Commonwealth legislation is guilty of an offence. Participants are encouraged to exercise extreme caution with respect to the possession and use of supplementary products upon their horses. No product should be purchased or used without seeking appropriate veterinary guidance to ensure that the product is necessary, registered, labelled, prescribed, dispensed or obtained in compliance with the law. Participants are warned against purchasing or using any product that does not have a label listing all active constituents. Participants are also warned about purchasing or using any product from sources of unknown repute. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is the Australian government authority responsible for the assessment and registration of pesticides and veterinary medicines. The APVMA have a publicly available database which can be used to check whether products that claim to be veterinary products are registered. It can be found here: https://portal.apvma.gov.au/pubcris In addition to checking with their veterinarian, participants may also contact the APVMA directly or the HRV Integrity Department regarding any queries they have regarding a particular product or substance. Harness Racing Victoria
The vet allegedly at the centre of the cobalt crisis gripping Australian racing is set for a Supreme Court showdown with Racing NSW to prevent the governing body from publicising any potential charges against him. A matter involving Dr Adam Matthews, the former Flemington Equine vet, was mentioned in the NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday in another twist to the cobalt saga. The vet's lawyer Nicole Spicer declined to comment on the matter, but Fairfax Media understands Matthews is seeking to prevent stewards releasing any charges possibly brought against him into the public domain. To read the full article written by Adam Pengilly in the Sydney Morning Herald click on this link.
Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) today conducted an inquiry 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 PRECIOUS M NZ prior to race 6, the DUBBO HARNESS RACING CLUB AWARDS 25TH SEPT PACE (2120 metres) conducted at Dubbo on Sunday 13 September 2015. Mr Peter Reynolds appeared at the inquiry. Evidence including the Reports of Analysis was presented to the Inquiry. Evidence was also taken from Mr Reynolds regarding the training of PRECIOUS M NZ, his husbandry practices and circumstances preceding the race. Evidence was also presented to the Inquiry by veterinarian Dr Don Crosby on behalf of Mr Reynolds and the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory Science Manager, Dr Adam Cawley. Mr Reynolds was issued with a charge pursuant to Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting PRECIOUS M NZ to race not free of a prohibited substance. He pleaded not guilty to the charge. The Stewards found the charge laid against Mr Reynolds to be proven. In determining the charge against Mr Reynolds, Stewards relied upon Australian Harness Racing Rules 191 (1) & (3) as the second certificate from Racing Analytical Services LTD reported a plasma Total Carbon Dioxide (TCO2) level of 36.6 mmol/L. Mr Reynolds was disqualified for a period of 15 months to commence from 18 September 2015 the date upon which he was stood down. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following; This was Mr Reynolds 1st offence for a Prohibited Substance; Class 2 Prohibited Substance; Mr Reynold’s licence history and other personal subjective facts. The fact that this charge was based upon prima facie evidence in relation to the first certificate issued by the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, PRECIOUS M NZ was disqualified from the abovementioned race. Reid Sanders
The Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) has advised HRNSW that Chlorpheniramine and Desmethyl Chlorpheniramine have been detected in the urine sample taken from Illawong Armstrong following race 7, the Bulli HRC NSW Trotters Derby (GROUP 1) (2400 metres) conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 30 May 2015. The “B” sample has been confirmed by Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL) in Victoria. Trainer Ms J. Quinlan has been advised. An Inquiry has been scheduled for 11am on Wednesday 30 September 2015. Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 31 racing clubs across the State. HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government. Reid Sanders
HRSA Stewards finalised an inquiry into a report received from Racing Analytical Services Ltd (RASL) that a pre race blood sample taken from Livingisfun prior to Race 2, Arclight Photography Claiming Pace, at Globe Derby on 8 August 2015, that upon analysis reported the presence of total plasma carbon dioxide (TCO2) greater than the 36mmol/L threshold. The ‘B’ sample was sent to the Chem Centre in WA which reported the presence of TCO2 at the threshold level. Evidence was taken from Mr. Shane Loone regarding this feeding and husbandry practices and Mr. Paul Zahra, Scientific Manager from RASL. Mr. Zahra provided evidence on the degradation of the TCO2 concentration of ‘B’ samples. Mr. Loone was charged under Rule 190(1), (2) & (4), that as the licenced trainer of LIVINGISFUN he did present that horse to race at Globe Derby on 8 August 2015 when not free of a prohibited substance. In determining the matter of guilt Stewards placed significant weight on the expert evidence provided by Mr. Zahra whose opinion is based on peer reviewed scientific research and statistical analysis. Stewards also took into account the previously recorded TCO2 levels of Livingisfun whilst under the care of Mr. Loone and the TCO2 levels under the care of other trainers, that this case was a prima facie matter, Mr. Loone’s previous record and his personal circumstances. Mr. Loone was disqualified for 9 months effective immediately. Mr. Loone has lodged an appeal and has been granted a stay of proceedings. Barbara Scott, Chair of Stewards
On Wednesday 2 September 2015, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards conducted an Inquiry into an investigation that commenced on Monday 17 August 2015, following the scratching of Heavenly Shades from the Newcastle Harness meeting on that date after a needle mark was observed on the neck of that horse during a stable inspection. Licensed Trainer, Mr Bruce Birch appeared at the Inquiry and provided evidence. Evidence of HRNSW Investigator/Steward Mr Chris Paul was also presented to the Inquiry. Mr. Birch pleaded guilty to a charge under Rule 196B (1), (2) & (3) in that he administered an injection to the registered standardbred HEAVENLY SHADES on Sunday 16 August 2015, within one clear day of the commencement of a race for which that horse was nominated. Mr Birch was disqualified for a period of 5 months to commence immediately. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following: * Seriousness of the offence * Mr Birch’s early admission and guilty plea. * The fact that this Rule was only recently introduced * Mr Birch’s licence history and other personal subjective facts, including personal hardship. Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 196B(1), (2) & (3) provide: (1) A person shall not within one (1) clear day of the commencement of a race administer or cause to be administered an injection to a horse nominated for that race. (2) For the purposes of this Rule, one (1) clear day means the twenty four (24) hour period from 12.01 a.m. to 12 midnight. (3) A person who fails to comply with Sub-rule 1) is guilty of an offence. Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 31 racing clubs across the State. HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government. Reid Sanders
The Ohio State Racing Commission (OSRC) heard an update on the status of the cobalt study being conducted by the OSCR, The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Ohio Department of Agriculture's (ODA) Analytical Toxicology Laboratory (ATL), at its monthly meeting at 77 S. High St., Columbus, Ohio on Aug. 25. Dr. James Robertson, OSRC consulting veterinarian, offered comments and insight on the OSRC-funded Cobalt research. "The Ohio State University has acquired five Standardbred horses for the pilot study and they are currently in a routine quarantine," Dr. Robertson explained. "Once that is completed, the study will begin and take about eight weeks to complete." Dr. Robertson stated that the goals for this pilot study are as follows: one, to investigate the pharmacology of different doses of IV cobalt chloride on healthy horses; two, to associate cobalt doses with blood and urinary cobalt concentrations over time; and three, to determine how cobalt chloride affects various body systems (cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular and hematopoietic) When OSRC Chairman Robert K. Schmitz asked about the recently announced United States Trotting Association (USTA)-funded cobalt study, Dr. Robertson first responded that it was regrettable that the research data of the previous USTA-funded Cobalt study in 2014 was never published or made available for peer review. "Based on the dose-response data collected from the pilot study, we intend to do a series of larger studies to examine all aspects of the effects of cobalt in the horse, including its effects on performance," said Dr. Robertson. "The OSRC, OSU and ATL have the financial, physical and intellectual resources to plan and execute the most comprehensive series of cobalt studies to date. The USTA announcement that they will fund a study to evaluate the effects of cobalt in an exercise physiology model will not change our research plans." Kimberly Rinker
Thoroughbred trainer Sam Kavanagh, whose licence was suspended in May after the former Sir Henry Cecil-trained Midsummer Sun tested positive for the banned substance cobalt, has been found guilty on 23 of the 24 charges in an investigation into cobalt and caffeine breaches by Racing New South Wales stewards. The Kavanagh-trained Midsummer Sun returned a positive pre-race swab to both substances when winning the Gosford Cup in January and investigations found an extensive use of a "Vitamin Complex" which contained excessive levels of cobalt. Kavanagh, whose Melbourne Cup-winning father Mark is also under investigation by Racing Victoria for cobalt offences, was among six men charged with 54 breaches by Racing New South Wales stewards. The investigations also unearthed that other horses in his yard had been treated with cobalt, and he has also been charged over positive results by Centre Pivot and Spinning Diamond. Kavanagh was found not guilty over the charge of administering caffeine to Midsummer Sun. Lengthy disqualification The trainer now has until September 10 to make submissions on penalties which will be considered by the panel but it looks likely he will face a lengthy disqualification from the sport. The result of the investigation, which was accompanied by detailed written reasons from the stewards as to their findings which is not usual practice in Australia, comes just ten days after trainer Kevin Moses was handed a 12-month ban for presenting a horse to race with cobalt in its system. Along with Kavanagh, Dr Tom Brennan of the Flemington Equine Clinic was found guilty of 12 charges, along with his colleague Adam Corby being found guilty of one of two charges. Former Kavanagh stable employee Michael O'Loughlin was found guilty of four charges. Others to be found guilty include disqualified harness racing trainer Mitchell Butterfield on all five charges he faced, while John Camilleri was found guilty of six of seven charges. Racing rocked Australian racing has this year been rocked by the scandal involving cobalt, which can assist in generating more red blood cells to carry oxygen through the body and thus allow a horse to perform at a peak level for longer. Peter Moody, Danny O'Brien, Mark Kavanagh and the father-son team of Lee And Shannon Hope are other trainers facing charges relating to cobalt in one of the most dramatic investigations in Australian racing history. By Lewis Porteous Reprinted with permission of the Racing Post
LEADING Queensland harness racing trainer Darrel Graham has met Peter Moody to discuss their collective bewilderment over positive tests to cobalt. While not formally charged, Graham has been notified his stable star Mafuta Vautin returned a positive test to cobalt in winning the $50,000 Qbred Triad final at Albion Park on May 30. Leading thoroughbred trainer Moody is fighting a case where Lidari tested positive when placing in the Turnbull Stakes last October. Graham was two days into a recent US holiday when he received news of the swab. Mafuta Vautin, named after colourful rugby league identity Paul Vautin, returned a cobalt reading of 342 micrograms a litre, well above the permitted reading of 200. “I am bewildered,’’ Graham said. “I don’t know anything about the stuff. I wouldn’t even know how to use it or have a clue what it looks like.’’ Representatives from the Day and McDowell families, harness racing licensees who faced cobalt charges, were also present at the meeting with Moody and Graham in Sydney on. Dean McDowell and Neil Day have been suspended for four years on cobalt charges and another three years for failing to attend the hearings. The meeting was also attended by former leading jockey turned trainer Kevin Moses, recently banned for a year for presenting a horse with an elevated cobalt reading. The meeting discussed if horses could have a cobalt level of more than 200mpl by accidental use of supplements. Cobalt use was originally detected in harness horses in the US and tests revealed that it was performance enhancing and a threat to a horse’s heart and nervous system.
Columbus, OH --- The U.S. Trotting Association announced Monday that it will fund a research study by renowned equine researchers Dr. George Maylin from Morrisville State College in New York and Dr. Karyn Malinowski and Dr. Ken McKeever of Rutgers University in New Jersey to evaluate the effects of cobalt on red blood cell production (erythropoiesis) and performance enhancement in horses. Dr. Maylin anticipates that the study will commence at the beginning of September. "The purpose is to study the effects of cobalt on racehorses with the exercise physiology model used by Dr. McKeever to study drugs such as EPO," explained Dr. Maylin. "It's the only way to assess the pharmacological effects with this type of compound. It will be a dose-response study to see if some level of cobalt has an effect on performance." In a previous study funded by the USTA, the three researchers determined a baseline for what the normal levels of cobalt are in a Standardbred horse. "Most of the research has established that the naturally occurring levels in a horse are below 25 ppb but occasionally can range as high as 70 ppb," said USTA President Phil Langley in making the announcement. "The problem remains that, other than establishing the natural levels, little is really known about the effects of cobalt on horses when it is given in excessive amounts." Racing jurisdictions have set thresholds to regulate the use of cobalt because it is known to be toxic in humans. However, there is currently no scientific evidence to determine an appropriate threshold for horses because dose-response studies have not been reported. "The recent action of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on cobalt pretty much reflects the actions taken in many racing jurisdictions and the prevailing thought is that a warning at readings in excess of the 25 ppb level and a more severe penalty when the results exceed 50 ppb will dramatically reduce any improper use of cobalt," said Langley. In addition, there have been no controlled studies to document the purported performance enhancing effects of cobalt. The goal of the proposed study is to test the hypothesis that cobalt administration will alter biochemical parameters related to red blood cell production as well as markers of exercise performance. "The important questions are whether cobalt can dramatically improve a horse's performance or is detrimental to the horse's health," added Langley. "That's what this research aims to discover." Eight healthy, trained Standardbred mares will be used for this experiment. Before receiving any drug treatment, all animals will complete a series of baseline testing. According to the study plan, 50 mg of cobalt (Co HCl in one liter of saline) will be administered at 9 a.m. on three consecutive days. Blood samples will be obtained before and at one, two, four and 24 hours after administration. Administration will commence seven days after the first Graded Exercise Test (GXT). Plasma and blood volume will be measured two days after the last dose of cobalt. A post administration GXT will be performed the next day. Testing will be comprised of measurement of maximal aerobic capacity and markers of performance, measurement of plasma volume and blood volume as well as lactate, erythropoietin (EPO), thyroid hormones and various blood hematological factors. Cobalt toxicity and its ability to increase red blood cell production in humans have been known for more than 50 years. Recently there has been renewed interest in cobalt as a performance enhancing drug (PED) in race horses and human athletes. The possible toxicity associated with its use as a PED has become a welfare concern in the horse industry. The USTA Communications Department