Stewards have now completed their deliberations and determined the matter of penalty in respect of the pleas of guilt to the charges issued under AR178 against Trainer Ms Sharon Taylor at the previously conducted inquiries relating to the following.
Charge 1 – Australian Rule of Racing 178 pleaded guilty at the inquiry conducted on 2 April 2015, with the particulars of the charge being that; Ms Sharon Taylor, as the trainer, brought and presented IGNITION for the purposes of engaging to race in Race 5 at Ascot on 4 March 2015 where it raced and finished second with the prohibited substance cobalt being detected in a post-race urine sample taken from the gelding at a level in excess of 200 micrograms per litre in urine.
Charge 2 – Australian Rule of Race 178 pleaded guilty at the resumed inquiry conducted on 30 April 2015 with the particulars of the charge being that; Ms Sharon Taylor, as the trainer, brought and presented IGNITION for the purposes of engaging to race in Race 8 at Ascot on 17 December 2014 where it raced and finished first, with the prohibited substance cobalt being detected in a post-race urine sample taken from it at a level in excess of 200 micrograms per litre in urine, reported to be 310 micrograms per litre by the Chem Centre.
In relation to the above charges the Stewards have imposed a twelve (12) month disqualification for each offence.
The Stewards have also determined that the total period of disqualification that is appropriate to apply is a period of eighteen (18) months effective as of 25 March 2015 which was the date upon which Ms Taylor was stood down pursuant to LR10. To give effect to this, six (6) months of the total penalty for the two offences is to be served concurrently.
In regards to penalty the Stewards considered and took into account as appropriate:
- Ms Taylor’s personal circumstances and that she had been involved in the industry for over 30-years and as a trainer since 2003 who had an unblemished record and operated a large training establishment with staff and dependants.
- That Ms Taylor pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and in doing so fast tracked the inquiry.
- The seriousness of the offences and the panel’s view that a starting point of penalty for offences of this nature for levels as apply in the present case was a period of disqualification of no less than two years subject to individual circumstances and mitigations that may apply. Further where more extreme levels apply, or there are other aggravating matters, penalties of even greater magnitude in a worst case scenario would apply as a starting point.
- That it was found by the panel that cobalt, at the levels detected in relation to both charges is a prohibited substance pursuant to the Rules of Racing as;
- It is a prohibited substance pursuant to AR178B(1) as it is an agent that is capable of causing either directly or indirectly an action or effect, or both an action and effect on the blood system;
- It is a prohibited substance pursuant to AR178B(2) as it is an haematopoietic agent; and
- it is a prohibited substance pursuant to AR177B(2)(l) as it is a hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1 stabiliser.Accordingly cobalt was considered to have a high potential to affect performance and to have no generally accepted therapeutic use to the racing horse at such levels.
- That the evidence from Ms Taylor of multiple administrations of propriety formulations containing various levels of cobalt, including by way of injection (despite the issue of industry warnings against multiple administration, particularly by injection of certain registered vitamin supplements close to racing), was not found to satisfactorily explain the relevant levels.
- Penalties issued in other jurisdictions in relation to this prohibited substance.
- The need for deterrence both general and specific.
Trainers are reminded once again that the threshold has been set at a level to allow for normal levels of cobalt supplementation through routine nutritional sources.
Trainers are again advised that the administration, particularly by injection and on multiple occasions of certain registered vitamin supplements close to racing may result in a level of cobalt in a subsequent sample that exceeds the threshold. Trainers are therefore advised to avoid the use of these supplements close to racing and obtain professional advice with regard to their use.
Examples of injectable vitamin supplements that contain cobalt and/or vitamin B12 include, but are not limited to, V.A.M. injection, Hemo-15 and Hemoplex.
The constituents/ingredients of all such supplements should be carefully considered and advice from veterinarians is highly recommended as to dosage rates and levels.
Denis Borovica –
General Manager Racing Integrity