In a massive victory for the industry, the Supreme Court has dismissed the long-running action against Harness Racing New South Wales. Earlier today Justice Adamson handed down her decision relating to the case instigated by horsemen Neil Day and Dean McDowell opposing the governing body. (Court's decision here) While the situation has been viewed mainly as a cobalt issue, the broader ramifications could have disastrous for the industry had Day and McDowell been triumphant. In fact, success would have forced the sport to shut down according to HRNSW Manager of Integrity, Reid Sanders. As part of their argument against their bans in relation to presenting horses with levels of cobalt above the accepted threshold, Day and McDowell challenged several rules. The rules included HRNSW’s right to issue – or cancel – licences and enforce drug related regulations. Basically, a loss by HRNSW would have meant participants had no boundaries in relation to drugs or tactics…a literal free-for-all! “This is a big win for the industry in relation to regulation and control,” Sanders said. “It was a very broad attack on several rules and our right to enforce them. “If they were successful, harness racing may have ceased to exist as we would be unable to enforce any rules. “The case wasn’t just about cobalt, it was about drug rules as a whole and Harness Racing New South Wales’ right to licence people, which makes for no regulation at all.” Although the industry has been vindicated, the financial cost is still a burden the governing body will have to bare. “It has been a costly hearing as we put together a very strong legal team,” Sanders declared. “Although we have been awarded costs, you never get it all back, only a percentage.” Day and McDowell were initially stood down by HRNSW last April after representatives from their stables returned tests above the cobalt threshold. Day’s Benzi Marsh was swabbed after its success in the Final Goulburn Soldiers Club Goulburn Championship at Goulburn on February 24, 2014. McDowell’s pair Chevals Charlie and Twilight Dancer were tested following victories at Bankstown on February 28, 2014. HRNSW will now continue with its inquiries into the matters involving Day and McDowell. In an unrelated matter, Harness Racing Australia has issued a statement relating to a national level for cobalt. At yesterday’s Annual General Meeting, members unanimously adopted the threshold for “cobalt at a concentration at or below 200 micrograms per litre of in urine.” “Matters of integrity are of paramount importance for public confidence in our industry,” HRA chairman Geoff Want declared. “While it may only be a small number of people who try to cheat the system and participate in fraudulent practices, we will continue to do all we can to ensure the integrity system works and the playing field is level.” Industry rules relating to race day testing are dealt with in AHRR 188A(1) which sets out prohibited substances, while 188A(2) sets out exceptions to sub-rule 1. The cobalt threshold is now defined as follows: 188A(2)(k) Cobalt at a concentration at or below 200 micrograms per litre of in urine. PAUL COURTS
Columbus, OH --- Results of an intensive, United States Trotting Association-funded scientific study intended to ascertain the appropriate regulatory level for determining the excessive presence of the naturally-occurring substance cobalt were announced on Tuesday (Sept. 30). Based upon extensive research, the scientists have concluded that 70 parts per billion in blood is the appropriate regulatory threshold. The recommendation guards against false positives, while identifying those who are engaged in artificial administration with the intent to enhance a horse's performance. "I want to thank Doctors Maylin, McKeever and Malinowski for applying appropriate scientific principles and protocols to achieve a regulatory threshold that is both reasonable for the industry and efficacious in deterring those who would choose to violate it," said USTA President Phil Langley in praising the contingent's diligent efforts. "With substances that are a natural constituent of a horse like cobalt, there is always a fine line between catching the cheaters and protecting innocent horsemen from violation. These scientists worked hard to achieve a proper balance, which should serve as a guidepost for the rest of the industry," added Langley. The USTA Medication Advisory Committee will continue to study the overall effects of cobalt and other substances in the racehorse in greater detail. Research indicates that cobalt stimulates the production of erythropoietin (EPO) to produce red blood cells. Widespread abuse of cobalt by human athletes has been rumored for years, and its purported use in racehorses prompted the USTA to take a highly proactive approach in the prevention of its artificial administration for the purpose of illicit performance enhancement. In June, the USTA contracted with Dr. George Maylin of New York's Drug Testing and Research Program at Morrisville State College to determine at what level cobalt ceases being considered a naturally occurring substance and becomes a clear attempt at performance enhancement. His work was assisted by Director Dr. Karyn Malinowski and Associate Director Dr. Ken McKeever from the Equine Science Center at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Based upon the USTA's funding, Dr. Maylin was able to secure a long-term lease of a specialized state-of-the-art instrument required to conduct proper scientific analysis to determine the presence and levels of cobalt in samples. That new, unique equipment with unrivaled performance differentiates these results from any other scientific study on the artificial introduction of cobalt in horses. It is anticipated that the regulators in several jurisdictions will consider the suggested threshold when the supporting data is released. From the USTA Communications Department
Just a little over five months ago, harness racing trainer Alan Clark thought the racing career of his star trotter The Fiery Ginga had come to a premature end. A vet examination in Melbourne had revealed that Clark's pride and joy had badly fractured a sesamoid bone. Alan Clark reflected this week on how bad the fracture The Fiery Ginga sustained was. "The vet told me that the fracture was that bad that he hadn't been able to screw all the bone back together and that the best I could hope for was that it would mend naturally." "He was adamant that it was very unlikely that The Fiery Ginga would ever race again." After returning to his home in Timaru, Alan boxed The Fiery Ginga for a month and then let him out into a small paddock for the next two months with the affected leg bandaged. "He started galloping around at home like a yearling so I got him checked out and received the all clear to put him back into work" The Fiery Ginga has been in work for twelve weeks now and has shown no signs of any residual effects from his injury. He has now reached the point where Alan was about to go to the trials with him but with the Timaru race meeting being right on his back door step, Alan decided to accept with The Fiery Ginga for the C2 front Equine Veterinary Services Trot over 2600 meters at Timaru on Sunday. As you would expect for a trotter that has won 27 races and $401,174, The Fiery Ginga has been handicapped off 50 meters in a field full of seasoned and smart trotters such as Spell, Donaldson and Idle Conn. But Alan Clark is confident of a big run on The Fiery Ginga's return to the track. "His work has been first class and his heart rate and recovery are right where they should be." "They will know he's there, that's for sure." Safely through Sunday's run, The Fiery Ginga will be set for the Flying Mile at Ashburton on Labour weekend and then on to the trotters free for all on New Zealand Cup day. Alan Clarke is confident The Fiery Ginga is back to his best and is looking forward to Ashburton especially. "He loves Ashburton and has been placed in the flying mile there the last two years so I will be heading there with a fair degree of confidence." It says a lot for the determination of The Fiery Ginga and his trainer Alan Clark that five months after being told he would never race again, the duo are set for another successful season on the track. Harnesslink Media
(Millstone TWP, NJ) - The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), the only globally recognized organization providing standards for identifying legitimate animal sanctuaries, awarded Verified status to Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF), August 5, 2014. Verification means that SRF meets the criteria of a true equine sanctuary/rescue and is providing humane and responsible care of the animals. To be awarded Verified status, an organization must meet GFAS's rigorous and peer-reviewed animal care standards which are confirmed by a site visit, and they must also adhere to a demanding set of ethical and operational principles. "Standardbred Retirement Foundation is an important resource for New Jersey and Kentucky," said Jackie Beckstead, GFAS Director, Accreditation and Field Operations. "The Standardbred Retirement fills a crucial niche in the equine rescue community by specifically focusing on the needs of retired Standardbred horses, saving those animals from slaughter, educating the public about the need to provide second careers and rehoming opportunities for these amazing equine athletes, and using the benefits of equine contact to connect with at-risk youth in the community," she said. Jannine Kraus, Business Administrator of SRF, said, "Our Verified status with GFAS affirms our absolute commitment to provide our rescued Standardbred horses with the very best care possible, as well as maintaining strict adherence to a code of transparency and organizational integrity. She continued, "GFAS verification is very important to us; they provide a standard of rescue best practices, support for funding sources and education, and open a network of resources that would otherwise be unavailable to us. We are appreciative of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and proud to have received GFAS Verification." Beckstead states, "Standardbred Retirement Foundation provides a strong example for other equine rescue organizations to follow. We applaud their efforts to constantly upgrade and improve their already outstanding efforts in helping Standardbred horses, both in their care and those still at risk, as well as the at-risk youth who are inspired by the time they spend with the horses who live at the SRF facilities located at Cream Ridge, NJ, Wallingford, KY and Blairstown, NJ. The GFAS Equine Accreditation Program is made possible by a generous grant from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to AnimalsÂ®. About Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the sole purpose of strengthening and supporting the work of animal sanctuaries, rescues, and rehabilitation centers worldwide. The goal of GFAS in working with and assisting these animal care facilities is to ensure they are supported, honored, recognized and rewarded for meeting important criteria in providing care to the animals in residence. GFAS was founded in 2007 by animal protection leaders from a number of different organizations in response to virtually unchecked and often hidden exploitation of animals for human entertainment and financial profit. The GFAS Board of Directors guides the organization's work in a collaborative manner. While the board includes those in top leadership at Born Free USA, The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare, the ASPCA, and American Anti-Vivisection Society, all board members serve as individuals dedicated to animal sanctuaries. www.sanctuaryfederation.org. Heart: The story of Pam Berg Pam Berg is the consummate advocate and founder of GEVA, a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue and retirement of horses - Many of which are thoroughbreds off the track. Pam is also "off the track," being an x-racehorse trainer and rider. Visit GEVA's website at www.glenellenfarms.com About Standardbred Retirement Foundation Standardbred Retirement Foundation, incorporated in 1991 as a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation, operates three separate rescue facilities in Cream Ridge, NJ, Wallingford, KY, and Blairstown, NJ. The organization's mission statement says, "The Standardbred Retirement Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization created to care for, rehabilitate, and secure lifetime adoption of non-competitive racehorses, to ensure their proper care with follow-up, and to combine the needs of youths at risk and these horses in therapeutic equine programs to benefit both." For more information, visit firstname.lastname@example.org or call 732.446.4422. http://www.adoptahorse.org About the ASPCAÂ® Founded in 1866, the ASPCAÂ® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to AnimalsÂ®) is the first humane organization established in the Americas and serves as the nation's leading voice for animal welfare. One million supporters strong, the ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. The ASPCA, which is headquartered in New York City, offers a wide range of programs, including a mobile clinic outreach initiative, its own humane law enforcement team, and a groundbreaking veterinary forensics team and mobile animal CSI unit. For more information, please visit www.aspca.org. To become a fan of the ASPCA on Facebook, go to http://www.facebook.com/aspca. To follow the ASPCA on Twitter, go to http://www.twitter.com/aspca. Standardbred Retirement Foundation | 353 Sweetmans Lane, Suite 101 | Millstone Twp.
Racing Queensland Stewards today inquired in to a report received from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre that Diclofenac was present in a post-race urine sample collected from CHESAPEAKA BOY subsequent to it competing and winning race 9, Trottips.com Trotters Discretionary Handicap at Albion Park on 03 May 2014. Today evidence was taken from the trainer of the gelding Mr Stuart Hunter. Licenced trainer Mr Michael Grant also provided evidence as the person responsible for presenting CHESAPEAKA BOY to race in the above mentioned race, as Mr Hunter was absent due to campaigning another runner interstate. Evidence was also tendered by Queensland Government Racing Science Centre Senior Veterinary Officer Dr. Karen Caldwell. After considering all of the evidence Mr Hunter and Mr Grant were both charged pursuant to AHR rules 190(1) and 190(3) which read: AHR 190(1) - A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. AHR 190(3) - If a person is left in charge of a horse and the horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1), the trainer of the horse and the person left in charge is each guilty of an offence. The particulars of the charge issued against Mr Hunter being that when CHESAPEAKA BOY competed at Albion Park on 03 May 2014, Mr Hunter was the registered trainer of the gelding when a post-race urine sample collected upon winning that event was found upon analysis to contain a prohibited substance namely Diclofenac. The particulars of the charge issued against Mr Grant being that as the person left in charge of CHESAPEAKA BOY he presented that gelding to race on 03 May 2014 at Albion Park when a post-race urine sample collected upon winning that event was found upon analysis to contain a prohibited substance namely Diclofenac. Mr Hunter and Mr Grant both pleaded guilty to the charges. When assessing the matter of penalty, stewards took into account: The circumstances of the case and the culpability of both parties. The nature of the substance involved. The licence history of Mr Hunter and Mr Grant and previous breaches of a similar nature. 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. Mr Hunter and Mr Grant were both fined the sum of $5000. Under the provisions of HRA rule 195, CHESAPEAKA BOY was disqualified from its first placing at Albion Park on 03 May 2014, and all other placegetters were amended accordingly. Mr Hunter and Mr Grant were advised of their appeal rights. Stewards Inquiry - Racing Queensland. Panel: D Farquharson, K Wolsey, D Aurisch
Here at Harnesslink we are constantly trying to bring you updates on all the harness racing and breeding issues affecting our industry. However we feel little or no coverage is given to the multitude of companies and service providers that provide products to the harness racing community. Therefore we thought it was timely to take a look at some of these companies and the products they offer. One of those companies is, APC, Inc., the manufacturer of the new LIFELINE serum-based equine performance products. While mostly unknown in the equine industry, APC is a third-generation family-owned company headquartered in Iowa. This science-based company is a global leader in the fractionation (concentration) of serum and plasma-based proteins. For over 30 years the company has been spearheading discoveries that have improved performance and health of many species of animals including calves, swine, aquaculture and more. With such proven performance in other species, APC realized they could apply these learnings to the equine industry. Everybody in the harness racing industry knows that for the equine athlete, racing, training and travelling takes a significant toll on your horse’s performance. Joint soreness, stomach upset and respiratory issues, often caused by inflammation, have been major factors affecting performance since the inception of this industry. The success of the LIFELINE range of equine products is due to BioThrive™. This active ingredient is made using APC’s proprietary process. Derived from bovine serum, its safety and beneficial effects have been documented in more than 300 published peer reviewed journal articles. These bioactive proteins have been shown to help support a healthy inflammation response. When a horse experiences stress or occasional soreness due to normal training, its immune system springs into action to combat the stressors. This immune system response results in inflammation which can have an effect on the following; Gut - digestive health and related conditions such as ulcers Joint - occasional soreness Respiratory - breathing and lung issues related to exercise Bioactive proteins when given orally help reduce overstimulation of the immune system so the horse's resources aren't spent fighting the stressor and instead can promote a healthy gut, maintain proper joint function and ease respiratory issues related to exercise. Unlike a lot of the products on the market, LIFELINE is not a vitamin or mineral supplement which typically target nutrition and work in just one system at a time. It works multisystemically. It also works fast with studies demonstrating a difference within just fourteen days. LIFELINE has two equine products which are aimed at horses in different stages of their life. Both products have bioactive proteins as their active ingredient, specifically formulated based on the age of the horse. Equine Elite is for horses experiencing the rigors of training and racing. AgeWell is for the older horse who is experiencing the physical effects of aging but are still expected to perform to their best. A recent gait analysis study conducted by Dr. Josie Coverdale and Joy Campbell of Texas A+M University measured stride length and knee range of motion with increasing dosage of serum-based bioactive proteins in exercised horses. The response strongly suggested that the horses in the study experienced healthy joint function and/or comfort while on LIFLINE BioThrive™. This study involved thirty horses over a 28 day period and was a robust academic study in a controlled setting and reinforced the feedback that LIFELINE was receiving daily from its clients. APC is also in various stages of process for a number of other studies on horses to include gut health, training in 2-year old stallions and mare/foal pairs. Results are not finalized but are promising. LIFELINE takes corporate responsibility very seriously. It is a member of the National Animal Supplement Council which is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the health of companion animals and horses The company has also invested in research ensuring that LIFELINE products are show/competition safe. The LIFELINE brand has come a long way over the past few decades. Between its significant investment in R&D, current and upcoming scientific study results and positive testimonials from product users, the future for APC looks assured. All in all I think the company motto says it all about LIFELINE – Watch Them Thrive. http://horse.watchthemthrive.com/ For this months special offer click here. Harnesslink media Lifeline Equine Performance
*What do Remiss, Valhalla, and Mattjestic Rebeck all have in common? well, apart from all having tested over the allowable TCO2 level they are all very nervous horses which became particularly stressed on the day the day in which the tested high. NZ Trainers and Drivers Association Secretary Peter T Cook, who has had his own personal experience with Valhalla, tells more. As you have probably read among the Remits being submitted to this years’ HRNZ Annual Conference, the Board, after a prolonged period of consideration, has finally decided to bring the allowable level of TC02 in line with pretty much every other jurisdiction in the World, i.e.36mmol/L, with a “guard band” of 1.0mmol/L. At the same time, however, they have also recommended an astonishingly large increase in the penalties involved for trainers who are found guilty for a first time. From a previously recommended $2-4000 for a first offence, the Board is proposing an automatic 2 year disqualification. The change has been likened to an increase from a ten year prison sentence to the death penalty in the real world. In other words, this would potentially be a career ending penalty for most, if not all trainers. The understanding is that most Australian states have a six month penalty for a first offence which is more realistic. Not only is this proposal totally out of “kilter’ with penalties attached to other charges, it is likely encourage someone whose career is in jeopardy and who had the financial wherewithal, to contest the matter in the Countrys’ legal system. All has a familiar ring to it, doesn’t it? Do we really want thousands of dollars more of Industry money keeping lawyers in the lifestyle they have become accustomed to? And while the Association is strongly supportive of measures against cheats, there is no guarantee that such legal proceedings against HRNZ would not be successful. Such a penalty offers no window for either the RIU or JCA for anyone to be found innocent. With a fine, even though it goes against natural justice, that may reluctantly be acceptable, but a two year ban is a different story. This decision has been made following long awaited, and somewhat controversial, advice from the HRNZ Veterinary Advisor Andrew Grierson. It is interesting to note that, in the press release from HRNZ, Chairman Gary Allen is quoting as saying “any positive will in almost all certainty be the result of an administration of prohibited substances.” The use of the word “almost” is interesting, considering that, in the past and currently, the RIU appear to have a policy of totally ignoring any evidence put before them suggesting a trainers’ innocence. This time last year, I had cause to have discussions with him concerning a horse in the stable I help out in, Valhalla. Andrew reeled off statistics (same as those accompanying the remit) stating categorically that the chances of a horse returning a level of 36mmol/L rises from around 15,000 to just over 2 million for a level of 37 without having TC02 administered. On the day that he was tested, Valhalla (normally a nervous horse at the races at the best of times) attempted to climb the walls of the float en route to the track, was bathed in sweat, was very agitated, and his eyes were out on storks as he was geared up. The RIU, as I could have told them, found no evidence of either Bicarbonate or anything to administer it with in the stables. The official reading was 38.2 which presumably makes him by far the rarest horse on the planet! While the requirement to present drug free horses is understandably paramount, this needs to be balanced with the rules of natural justice, and disqualifying a trainer for two years for a high level of a substance already present in every horse, doesn’t seem to match those requirements. It is quite possible that a Court of Law may take the same view, particularly when there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the trainer. Mark Jones is currently enduring the same nightmare of presenting compelling evidence that he did not administer bicarb, only to have it totally ignored by the authorities. As for performance enhancement, both Valhalla and Remiss, Marks’ horse that is currently under investigation, both finished last in their respective races! Peter T Cook (Courtesy of the Trainers and Drivers Association)
Suspended harness trainer Jamie Keast applauds a move to lift the allowable level of bicarbonate in racehorses but he warns lengthy automatic bans could crucify the innocent. Keast, based at Amberley with his partner Henriette Westrum, has just been suspended for six months for his third breach of the bicarb rule, and says he is unlikely to return to training when his time is up at the end of the year. ''I've lost a lot of clients over this and I don't think I'll even bother training again,'' Keast said. ''I'm not making any money out of it. ''I can earn more money in 15 minutes shoeing a horse than I can training one.'' Keast said he basically put his hands in the air after Westburn Creed returned a level of 36.2 at Kaikoura last November even though he had not cheated. ''We knew after the last case that there was no point fighting them because of their strict liability rule and we're still struggling to pay off the last fine.'' Two containers of bicarbonate of soda were taken from Keats' feed room, along with a drenching tube and bucket but Keast denied that he put any bicarb into Westburn Creed's feed. He said they regularly drenched horses who had raced, trialled, or done fast work with a mixture of substances which included DMSO and one tablespoon of baking soda. But after Wally's Girl tested high last July they changed their practice and drenched their horses three days before a meeting, not two. The RIU's veterinary adviser Andrew Grierson said an administration three days before the race could not have elevated the horse's TCO2 levels on the day. Keast's counsel Mary-Jane Thomas submitted Westburn Creed had a throat condition which could have raised his bicarb level because it restricted the intake of oxygen and exhaling of carbon dioxide. After Westburn Creed underwent surgery in mid 2012, his levels decreased but about a year later, in October, 2013, their vet discovered the growth had returned. Thomas submitted Grierson did not expressly discount the possibility of the nasal obstruction being the cause, concluding rather that the readings did not support that as the likely cause. Grierson said the level was best explained statistically by the administration of an alkalising agent. Christopher Lange for the RIU said Westburn Creed's levels were between 32 and 34.1 when trained by Ivan Court, between 35.2 and 36.2 when with Keast and Westrum, and between 31.3 and 32.8 when taken over by Bob Rochford. Keast says he's all in favour of a Harness Racing New Zealand remit which will be put at the annual meeting of clubs in Christchurch next month that the level go up one point - with the built-in margin of error it would mean the new cutoff was 37, a threshold neither of his horses would have tripped. But he said rather than having automatic minimum sentences of two years for a first offence, five years for a second and 10 years for a third breach, penalties should be determined by the level. ''We reckon we're innocent and there have been a lot of other people crucified for this already. ''Any vet will tell you this is not an exact science. Lots of factors like dehydration, feed, nervousness and respiratory conditions can have an affect.'' Keast will be allowed to continue driving in races, and carry out his farrier work but he cannot work horses or break them in until January. Courtesy of Barry Lichter Reprinted with permission of Fairfax media
Rallying from off the pace with a three-wide move, Union-Endicott High School student Rachael Oltmer prevailed in the 2014 Tioga Downs harness racing scholarship race, earning a $3,000 scholarship through her victory with Newyorkjoyants. Oltmer, teamed with Tioga Downs driver Corey Braden for the non-betting race, moved Newyorkjoyants three-wide at the top of the stretch, moving clear of Ten Yard Penalty (Kayla Martin / Phil Fluet) and What About Brian (Megan Vanvorce / Mike Deters) to cover the 5/8-mile race in 1:17. Ideal Temptation (Jason Hill / Tim Lanpher) and Isthatallyagot (Shania Shaver/Edgar "Sparky" Clarke) completed the field. Oltmer will enter the veterinary technician program at SUNY Canton in the fall. Thanks to the efforts of the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association, the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State, the New York Sire Stakes, and the New York State Agriculture Fund, all five participating students earned at least $1,000 in scholarship money. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs
Also prior to the Council meeting proper, HRNZ CEO Edward Rennell came along to outline HRNZs’ plans for the Industry in the near future and discuss any issues that the Association may have. He began with comments on Trackside, saying that he felt that the new format should have been fully set up prior to the launch, instead of on 1 August. He was hopeful that the new domestic only channel (Trackside 1) would benefit harness racing, particularly on the two meeting Fridays, when there would be no greyhound racing shown. With regard to Industry funding, it was likely that extra funding would, once again be available this season, the question to be considered by the Board was how that would be allocated to Clubs. He outlined the proposal for next seasons’ Premier meetings, with Addington holding eight and Auckland six, all with $20,000 minimum stakes and, in conjunction with the Sires Stakes Board, five new feature races for three and four year-olds would be included in these meetings. Unfortunately, due to constraints of the Calendar, four of these Premier dates would clash with minor meetings in the other Island. However this format was planned to be a constant structure for five years, with suitable gaps between the meetings to ensure maximum inter-island participation. Next years’ Calendar had been virtually finalised with 3 or four less harness meetings that the current season scheduled. This season was currently up on last season in regard to turnovers and horse participation, with stake levels up around 5%. Exports were slightly down on last season, with the reduction of Australian interest due to the new levy being offset by interest from China, which was considered to be moving in a positive direction. A major concern for the industry was the reduction of funds allocated from gaming money, and on-going problems with trusts etc. Ken Barron questioned why the stakes for Sires Stakes, Sales, and Fillies Series heats should vary, when all participants paid the same payments. There was also a feeling that more money should be paid for heats, with a reduction in stakes for Finals, so that the money is spread more to connections who have paid up for the Series. Edward suggested these matters should be taken up with our representative on the Sires Stakes Board. Edward also outlined details of remits that were planned to be submitted to the Annual Conference, including the change to the Protest Rule, which had been prepared by Rob.Lawson and the Rules Sub-Committee, and was supported by the National Council. Under the new Rule, the potentially disastrous situation surrounding the inquiry into interference at the start of the Sales Series Final by Alta Orlando would not have happened. Other remits would include ensure there would be more regular alcohol testing of drivers, the introduction of new Rules to cover Monte racing, and the banning of dual acceptors at the one meeting, which all present agreed offered an unfair advantage, and caused confusion for Pick Six etc. punters when a horse was left in two races. Other issues covered with Edward included the underutilisation of a number of tracks, such as Cambridge, complications surrounding centralisation (HRNZ were investigating aspects of this in regard to the Reserves Act), the allocation of actual costs to Clubs instead of the current flat rate, the swabbing of claimed horses (Edward undertook to request that the RIU swab all claimed horses where practical), the independent review of the RIU, and the developing issue of Cobalt Chloride. Edward had asked HRNZ’s veterinary advisor to address the Council, however he had been unavailable, so he suggested that Association representatives meet with Andrew Grierson at the end of May, or hold a telephone conference with him to discuss drug related issues. A suggestion that Andrew could be perceived as having a conflict of interest due to his interest in Woodlands Stud was rejected by Edward, who considered that he simply provided opinions based on veterinary expertise. However Gordon Lee countered this by quoting his recent case involving Boldenone, where that opinion had proven to be flawed. Edward advised that consideration was being given to standardising pay-outs to Clubs for on and off course turnovers, due to many on-course punters using new technology such as phones to place bets. (Part 3 next week) Peter T Cook (NZ Trainers & Drivers Association)
Top harness racing trainer Robert Dunn pulled off one of the biggest training feats of his illustrious career when Quinellering the Group One NZ Messenger with Elios and Franco Nelson at Alexandra Park tonight. Dunn’s two sons also produced the quinella in the $100,000 event with John Dunn and Elios diving along the passing lane to nab Franco Nelson in the shadows of the post, denying his brother Dexter three consecutive wins in the prestigious pacing event. Norvic Nightowl (James Stormont) was 4-1/2 lengths back in third with a neck back to Mossdale Connor (Ricky May) in fourth. “He was a good three-year-old but he has continued to get better as he has got older which is very pleasing,” said John Dunn. Elios led early before handing up to his stablemate Franco Nelson, who showed a dazzling turn of foot to leave his free-rolling stablemate flat footed at the 1100 metres. “In hindsight it probably worked out perfectly,” advised Dunn. “Last week he had to burn hard the whole way and got on the nickel a bit, but this time he was able to sneak a breather when in the trail down the back straight. “A lot of the credit must go to Matt Bowden, our travelling foreman. He has done a fantastic job with these two horses up here. He also did a great job with them in Australia.” Both pacers will now target the Harness Jewels, however afterwards they may be heading in different directions. “Elios will probably head to Australia for the Breeders Crown, while Franco Nelson, who is very good from a stand, will spell before being set for the NZ Cup,” advised Dunn. Elios’s win tonight was a reward for his risk-taking owners who purchased him for big money as a three-year-old despite the fact that he failed the veterinary examination. By Mitchell Robertson
The NZ Harness Racing Trainers and Drivers Association has just been advised that, following research by their Veterinary Consultant, HRNZ will be testing for the substance Cobalt Chloride from April 14 2014. Authorities in New South Wales have recently begun testing for this substance and their lead has now been followed by the Thoroughbred code in Victoria. The permitted level is 200mg per litre of urine. We understand that normal Vitamin B12 injections contain some measure of Cobalt Chloride, however according to the Chief Veterinarian in New South Wales, manufacturers of this product are mindful of keeping the levels low so as not to affect a horses performance. Further information will be forthcoming in due course. By Peter T Cook (Courtesy of the NZ Trainers and Drivers Association)
Over the past two days – April 9 and 10, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) have conducted a review hearing in the case involving Mr. Eric Anderson, Mr. Glenn Douglas and Dr. Sarah Jalim. Below outlines an overview of the hearing. A final decision regarding penalty will be handed down by His Honour Judge Nixon on Tuesday 15 April 2014. On 5 March 2014, the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board imposed a 6 month disqualification upon Mr Eric Anderson and Mr Glenn Douglas with regard to various offences found to have been committed against the Australian Rules of Harness Racing (ARHR). Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas both applied to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for review of the HRV RAD Board decisions on the grounds the penalty imposed upon them was excessive. HRV Stewards also lodged cross-applications for review to the VCAT on the grounds the penalties imposed by the HRV RAD Board were inadequate. Prior to the VCAT review hearings Mr Glenn Douglas amended his application and indicated an intention to contest 3 of the 11 charges issued against him as well as apply for review of the penalty imposed. At the VCAT review hearings held on 9 and 10 April 2014, the VCAT heard evidence from Dr Sarah Jalim, Mr Glenn Douglas and Mr Eric Anderson. The VCAT also received into evidence a statement from Dr Kathryn McIntosh tendered to the VCAT by the legal representative of Mr Douglas and Mr Anderson. The VCAT also received into evidence the statements of HRV witnesses Mr Nicholas Murray (Deputy Chairman of Stewards), Mr Stephen Svanosio (Assistant Steward), Mr Andy Rogers (General Manager – Integrity), Mr Anthony Pearce (Investigative Steward), Dr Daniel Carmody (HRV veterinary consultant) and Mr Paul Zahra (Racing Analytical Services Limited Scientific Manager). At the conclusion of the evidence, Mr Douglas discontinued his contesting of one of the charges and the VCAT considered the remaining two charges being contested under ARHR 187(6) and 105(5) which provide: ARHR 187(6) A person shall not frustrate or endeavour to frustrate an inquiry or investigation. ARHR 105(5) The owner or authorized agent or other person in charge of a horse whose death has been notified, or which should have been notified, under sub rule (1)(a) shall not dispose of the carcass without the permission of the Controlling Body or the Steward. The presiding member of the VCAT, His Honour Judge Nixon, determined that Mr Douglas was guilty of both charges and proceeded to hear submissions from all parties as to the appropriate penalty to be imposed upon Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas. To view the Glenn Douglas/ Talk To The Hand story click here. HRV Media
Early Bird Registration extended to April 7th A Guided Tour of Equine Anatomy is a dissection workshop offered to horse enthusiasts and professionals alike to help them understand equine anatomy first hand. Led by Ontario Veterinary College researcher and anatomy instructor, Dr. Jeff Thomason, this unique educational workshop is offered at the Ontario Veterinary College. Early bird sign up has been extended to April 7th for workshops offered on April 26 and 27, 2014. Well known for his ability to bring anatomy to life, Thomason guides participants through plenty of hands-on exploration of the anatomy of a horse in a way most do not get to experience. An overview of the large muscle groups of the neck, trunk and legs is followed by an exploration of the abdomen and chest. The latter part of the laboratory is designed to allow individual students to explore their areas of interest in further detail. This one day workshop can be followed by a second day of advanced exploration which would allow the participants to get even more specific in learning how different systems function. Some of the second day topics have included looking at the mechanics of the leg or the complexities of the respiratory system. Students leave with a much broader understanding of how form and function intertwine. Dr. Thomason, is not only an internationally recognized researcher but he also teaches anatomy to veterinary students at the OVC and is excellent at explaining basic to advanced anatomy topics. Registration is online at: http://tinyurl.com/anatomyworkshop. For more information about this workshop: http://www.equineguelph.ca/pdf/workshop/Equine%20Anatomy%20Workshop%20Flyer%20-%202014.pdf or contact Equine Guelph. 519-824-4120 ext 54205 email: email@example.com
Racing Queensland stewards today inquired into a report received from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre that Levamisole was present in a post-race urine sample collected from harness racing pacer REDDY FIRE subsequent to it competing and winning Race 4, the Get the Trot Tips Play Of The Day Pace at Redcliffe on the 15 January 2014. Today evidence was provided by trainer Mr Shane Sanderson who advised stewards he had treated REDDY FIRE with Levamisole in weeks prior to racing. This preparation was used as a worming medication and an immune stimulant, however stewards outlined that this product is not registered for use in horses. Stablehand Glen Greaves tendered evidence in relation to the post-race swabbing procedure, and evidence was also provided by Queensland Government Racing Science Centre Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Bruce Young. After consideration, Mr Shane Sanderson was charged pursuant to AHR 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 Shane Sanderson did present REDDY FIRE to race at Redcliffe on the 15 January 2014 when a post race urine sample was found, upon analysis, to contain a prohibited substance, namely Levamisole. Mr Shane Sanderson pleaded not guilty to the charge, however after consideration stewards considered there was sufficient evidence to find Mr Sanderson guilty of the aforementioned charge. When assessing the matter of penalty, stewards took into account: The circumstances of the case The nature of the substance involved The licence history of Mr Shane Sanderson which indicated a previous offence under this rule in 2010. 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. Mr Shane Sanderson was disqualified for 8 months. Stewards directed under Rule 195 that REDDY FIRE be disqualified from its 1st placing at Redcliffe on the 15 of January 2014 and the placings to be amended as follows : 1 LEFT IN COMMAND 2 ARK ELAINE 3 JUDAH BEN HUR 4 CARNIVAL PRIDE All other placegetters were amended accordingly. Panel: D Farquharson, D Aurisch, K Wolsey
The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) announced that there has been a report of EHV-1 in a Thoroughbred that is residing in Barn 10 at Woodbine Racetrack, but that Standardbred racing is not affected by the situation. Today (March 18) ) the ORC issued the announcement on behalf of Dr. Adam Chambers, who is manager of Veterinary Services at the ORC. The contents of the release appear below. EQUINE HERPES CASE Restrictions in place. Training at Woodbine to continue; Standardbred racing not affected. There has been a report of EHV-1 in a five-year-old thoroughbred filly residing in Barn 10 at Woodbine Racetrack. The horse showed neurological signs on Thursday, March 13 but did not have a fever. The horse was removed from Woodbine to isolation on Saturday, March 15. The horse’s condition is stable. Results from tests available today showed non-neurotropic EHV-1 in blood but not nasal secretions. This is an unusual testing result and the horse has been retested. The risk of transmission to other horses may be low, as the infection is spread by nasal secretions. There have been no reports of any other sick horses in barn 10. Sporadic incidents of infection occur not infrequently and can be isolated incidents. The non-neurotropic form of EHV-1 identified from this horse differs from the neurotropic form identified from thoroughbreds at Woodbine in June of last year. Although the both types of EHV-1 can cause neurological disease the non-neurotropic strain is thought to be less likely to do so. EHV-1 has an incubation period of approximately 3 to 8 days, and may in some cases be as long as 14 days. Given these facts, the following measures will be in place, effective immediately: All horses must have their temperatures taken twice daily. Trainers with horses that have clinical signs consistent with EHV-1 infection (including fever (101.5 F/38.5 C or above), respiratory signs (cough, nasal discharge and/or neurological signs) must report these findings to their veterinarian immediately; Horses from Barn 10 will be allowed to train at the end of training hours; Only ponies housed in Barn 10 will be allowed to pony horses in Barn 10; Horsepeople are reminded to remain vigilant and institute appropriate biosecurity measures and should consult their veterinarians for advice. Standardbred horses are not stabled at Woodbine Racetrack. As well, the standardbred racing meet at Woodbine will not be impacted by these measures. To ensure best practices are in place to contain the disease, the ORC received input from experts from the University of Guelph and University of California at Davis, the office of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF). The ORC will also continue to work closely with Woodbine management, veterinarians and horse people. The ORC will monitor the situation and any further developments will be reported.