Trainers’ association backs strong stance by racing authorities to stamp out anyone working outside the rules
RESULTS from the first round of cobalt tests in Queensland will be known by the end of next week, with up to nine samples currently regarded as “concerning”.
Racing Queensland has conducted 290 tests for cobalt, of which nine have been sent for further testing, which will be done in Western Australia on Monday, with results expected by Friday.
The tests were conducted on horses from both harness and thoroughbred codes, including feature race winners from 2014 winter carnivals.
RQ’s general manager of stewarding and integrity, Wade Birch, issued a statement on Thursday saying that anybody caught in the net could only blame themselves, given they had 12 months’ notice.
Australian Trainers’ Association Queensland Branch president Barry Baldwin said he backed the strong stance of racing authorities to stamp out anyone working outside the rules.
“We don’t want everyone to think we’re all doping horses, but anybody caught using it — so be it. They have to cop the penalty,” Baldwin said.
“From what I’ve been told talking to vets, it’s a serious drug that has the potential for side effects on horses.
“Everybody has been well warned about it and there’s not going to be much sympathy if someone is caught.”
The search for trainers using cobalt dates back to September 2013, when RQ, in conjunction with Harness Racing New South Wales, sent a batch of urine samples to the National Measurement Institute after intelligence first arose regarding cobalt use in harness racing.
“Our trainers were then made aware that Racing Queensland would be testing for cobalt in October 2013 and a number of samples from both thoroughbred and harness horses have been frozen since then in anticipation of the new threshold, which came into effect on January 1 this year,” Birch said.
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“The underlying principle of racing integrity is to ensure the sport is carried out in a fair and just manner in the interest of the punter, the participant and most importantly the horses themselves.”
But RQ chief executive Darren Condon said the perception that the use of cobalt is widespread is incorrect.
“Given the total number of samples taken, five positives (in Victoria) isn’t the widespread crisis some people would like to suggest,” Condon said.
“In Queensland, prior to having the B samples tested, we weren’t seeing a huge amount of potential problems.
“From 290 samples, there were nine with concerns, which isn’t a huge number.”
Story courtesy Nathan Exelby http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/superracing/trainers-association-backs-strong-stance-by-racing-authorities-to-stamp-out-anyone-working-outside-the-rules/story-fnii0njy-1227186445815