By: Chris Roots
A horse trained by Chris Waller has returned an initial positive test to the party drug ice.
The trainer of the world’s best turf horse Winx could have to face a stewards’ inquiry into the positive sample to methamphetamine from one horse if it is confirmed by a second sample. At two subsequent starts the horse, which remains a maiden, was not tested including at Randwick on Melbourne Cup day.
Racing NSW chief steward Marc Van Gestel would not comment on any investigation. It is policy not to make public comment until a confirmation sample has been received. However Fairfax Media understands an investigation has been opened with stable staff from the Waller yard being drug tested.
“We are working through the possibility of a positive sample to ice from one of our horses,” Waller said. “It is an issue we want to get on the front foot with and we have tested our staff to try and find how this happened.
“We want to work out where the contamination has come from and whether it was from one of our staff or an outside influence.
“We are still waiting on a lot of information and we are helping stewards with their investigation.
“As much as I’m concerned with this issue, I’m equally concerned for any person who has an issue with this drug and would want to help them as well.”
The most recent case of an ice positive was in Victoria last year when trainer Matt Laurie avoided a penalty when it was discovered the stablehand responsible for the horse had been using the drug.
Shockaholic was disqualified from the maiden win at Echuca. However it was found that the methamphetamine positive was caused by accidental contamination and the minuscule amount would not have affected the horse’s performance. Laurie had no conviction recorded.
Trainer John McNair was fined $15,000 when Normandy tested positive to amphetamine and methylamphetamine for a lack of stable security.
On that occasion, stewards were tipped off that Normandy would test positive, and they found the horse had been approached by an external party. They also found that McNair did not administer or have knowledge of the administration of the drug.
Luke Griffith was disqualified for four years in 2015 when his stable had a series of positives to ice from his stable, but admitted to a drug problem of his own.
Waller has been the dominant trainer in Sydney for the past decade, but the stable has had a series of brushes with stewards.
He had no conviction recorded after feed contamination led to three positive tests to ibuprofen in April 2013.
Waller-trained Junoob was disqualified after winning the group 1 Metropolitan in 2014 when it tested positive to the diuretic Frusemide, better known as Lasix, and he was fined $30,000.
A stablehand of Waller’s was given a nine-month disqualification earlier in the year for providing an adulterated sample and a substitute sample when randomly drug tested at Rosehill trackwork.