By: Ben Scadden
ADELAIDE racing officials have slammed suggestions by under-siege Victorian trainer Danny O’Brien that cobalt use was widespread in South Australia.
During Friday’s fiery fifth day of a cobalt hearing against O’Brien and fellow trainer Mark Kavanagh, O’Brien claimed vet Tom Brennan had spoken of rumours of the substance being rife in SA and trainers coming across the border and winning races.
But Thoroughbred Racing SA chief executive Jim Watters quickly dismissed those suggestions, highlighting that SA trainers are subjected to the same stringent testing procedures used in other Australian states.
“Thoroughbred Racing SA, like Racing Victoria, introduced a threshold for cobalt before a national threshold was introduced by the Australian Racing Board,” Watters said.
“That threshold of 200 micrograms per litre in urine was introduced by us on November 1, 2014. The national threshold was introduced by the ARB on January 1, 2015.
“We have subsequently extensively tested urine samples, including race winners, and have no reported cases of any sample exceeding the threshold. Our samples are tested by the same laboratory used by Racing Victoria and our regulatory practices have never been called into question.
“The apparent claim at the current cobalt case in Victoria as to rumours that horses from SA were on cobalt drips because the policing in SA was lax is not only unfounded but unwarranted.
“South Australian-trained horses competing in Victoria are, of course, subjected to the same testing across the border as is the case with Victorian-based trainers.”
SA president of the Australian Trainers’ Association, Richard Jolly, echoed Watters’ sentiment. “South Australian trainers are offended by the comment,” Jolly said.