Belinda McCarthy Disqualified and Fined: HarnessLink.Com 2/9/17

By: NZDT/Harness Link

Mrs Belinda McCarthy
Mrs Belinda McCarthy

Harness Racing New South Wales Stewards today concluded the Inquiry into the presentation of VINNY CHASE to race at Tabcorp Park Menangle on 14 June 2016, when subsequent to it winning race 4 on that date a urine sample taken from it was found to contain the prohibited substances boldenone, nandrolone and 5 alpha – estran-3 beta, 17 alpha-diol. A further sample taken from the horse at its stables on 15 July 2016 also detected prohibited substances boldenone, nandrolone and 5 alpha – estran-3 beta, 17 alpha-diol.

HRNSW Stewards convened an Inquiry into the substances being detected in the two urine samples on 28 September and 20 November 2016. Mrs McCarthy was issued with the following charges pursuant to the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) on 28 September 2016:

AHRR 190.  (1)  A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances.

(2)  If a horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1) the trainer of the horse is guilty of an offence.

(4)  An offence under sub rule (2) or sub rule (3) is committed regardless of the circumstances in which the prohibited substance came to be present in or on the horse.

AHRR 190A.          (1)  When a sample taken at any time from a horse being trained or cared for by a licensed person has detected in it any prohibited substance specified in sub-rule (2):-

(a)  The trainer and any other person who was in charge of such horse at the relevant time shall be guilty of an offence.  

On 20 November 2016, Mrs McCarthy, accompanied by her legal representatives Ms Valerie Heath of Counsel, Solicitor Mr Matthew Hammond and Professor Whittem, provided evidence and submissions in defence of the charges.

On 15 December 2016, HRNSW found Mrs McCarthy guilty of both charges via a written decision. Submissions on the matter of penalty were invited and these were received by HRNSW on 30 January 2017.

The submissions made the following points:

  • That Mrs McCarthy was only the trainer of VINNY CHASE for some 20 clear days prior to the race in question;
  • There is inconclusive evidence that Mrs McCarthy was responsible for the administration of the substances;
  • That as the trainer of the horses Mrs McCarthy carries the absolute responsibility to ensure horses in her care are presented to race free of any prohibited substances;
  • The specific nature of the substances detected;
  • Mrs McCarthy’s clean record, the number of horses in her care, lack of motive;
  • Supporting character references.

HRNSW Stewards considered the submissions when balanced with an appropriate penalty in a disciplinary regime where the aim of this action is to ensure the integrity of the industry and for those associated with the industry to understand the consequences of their non-compliance with the Rules.

The Stewards were also mindful of the following factors to determine penalty:

  • The nature of the substance;
  • The scientific evidence regarding the elimination of such substances;
  • The HRNSW Penalty Guidelines;
  • Mrs McCarthy’s licence and disciplinary record;
  • The personal subjective factors relevant to Mrs McCarthy.

Stewards have determined that Mrs McCarthy should be disqualified for a period of 12 months and fined $5000.

The period of disqualification is backdated to 22 August 2016 the date upon which Mrs McCarthy was stood down pursuant to Rule 183.

Acting under Rule 195 the Stewards further ordered that VINNY CHASE be disqualified as the winner of Race 4 at Tabcorp Park Menangle on 14 June 2016.

Stewards further ordered that subject to Rule 190AA(4),  VINNY CHASE is not permitted to start in any race before 15 July 2017 and only after the production of an Anabolic Androgenic Steroid Clearing Certificate.

MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY MANAGER

(02) 9722 6600 •  mprentice@hrnsw.com.au

GRAHAM LOCH | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS

(02) 9722 6600 •  gloch@hrnsw.com.au