Toowoomba trainer Rochelle Smith caught in cobalt net after two horses in her care return positives
• by: BRAD DAVIDSON
• From: Gold Coast Bulletin
• July 21, 2015 8:00PM
The latest positives come after thoroughbred trainer Jamie McConachy was found guilty of presenting Vandalised to race in the 2014 Rockhampton Cup with the prohibited substance cobalt in his system. Source: News Corp Australia
THE two latest Queensland trainers to become embroiled in racing’s cobalt doping scandal have claimed their innocence and plan to fight to clear their names.
Toowoomba thoroughbred trainer Rochelle Smith will face a stewards’ inquiry next week after two horses in her care returned positives to cobalt.
The Smith-trained Vimzig returned a cobalt positive sample after winning a race at Toowoomba on May 16 and stablemate Grey Countess also returned a reading above the cobalt threshold when finishing second in a race at the Gold Coast on May 30.
One of the state’s biggest names in harness racing, Darrel Graham also faces an inquiry early next month after his horse Mafuta Vautin returned a positive cobalt reading after winning the Group 2 Qbred Triad 4YO Entires & Geldings Final at Albion Park on May 30.
All three positive samples were recorded on dates well after the 200 microgram per litre of urine national cobalt threshold was introduced for both codes.
The Courier-Mail can also reveal there has been a further cobalt irregularity recorded in Queensland harness racing.
Harness racing driver-trainer Darrel Graham and Rollon Las Vagas head the field during a race at Redcliffe last year. Pictu Chris Higgins Source: News Corp Australia
The Queensland harness trainer involved with the irregularity has been notified but RQ stewards are waiting on secondary tests to come back before laying any possible charges.
Graham, who is third in the statewide trainers’ premiership this season with his horses earning more than $643,000 in prizemoney in 2014-15, said he was stunned by the positive reading.
“I’m completely bamboozled and I’ve had 130 winners for the season and all of a sudden one of these come up,” said Graham, who is currently in America.
“The horse was a ($1.40) favourite and we own the horse ourselves and he drew one and if you have a look at the horse’s performances he has had (18 starts and won 12 of them).”Meanwhile, the 28-year-old Smith, who has been training in Toowoomba for eight years, also pleaded her innocence on Tuesday.
“Since being informed of the positives I’ve done some research into numerous supplements that we use that contain levels of cobalt so that’s the avenue I’m investigating,” she said.
“I’ve had other winners around the same time and all of our horses are treated the same so I was shocked that some had (cobalt positives) and some haven’t.
“I’m blown away especially at the levels of one of them.”
COBALT INQUIRY WIDENS TO COAST
The new positives come after Queensland thoroughbred trainers Jamie McConachy and Len Treloar, who no longer holds a trainers’ licence in Queensland, and harness trainers Shawn Grimsey, Trevor Lambourn and Ken Belford all had horses return positives to cobalt last year.
McConachy was found guilty on Tuesday of presenting Vandalised to race in the 2014 Rockhampton Cup with cobalt in his system.
Racing Queensland stewards do not wish to reveal at this stage the cobalt levels Vimzig and Grey Countess returned (none of the runnners featured above are in any way involved). Source: News Corp Australia
Vandalised, who won the race in question, has been disqualified from last year’s Rockhampton Cup as a result and RQ stewards will hand down McConachy’s penalty in the next seven days.
Lambourn (three years), Belford (18 months) and Grimsey (18 months) have all received bans in relation to cobalt positives but plan to appeal.
Atherton thoroughbred trainer Glen Baker was also disqualified for two years last month after his horse French Lesson returned a cobalt positive sample following victory in a race at Doomben on January 31. Baker disputed the length of his penalty last Friday but the Racing Disciplinary Board reserved their decision.
Another headache for all those involved....what's clear is that RQ is more advanced in dealing with the positives than RVL.....whether the decisions in Qld will have any bearing on the outcome of the Victorian charges which have yet to be heard by the RAD......the RDB under Brock Miller is still thinking about it.