STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Four horses in trainer Fabrice Souloy’s stable tested positive for cobalt, the Swedish Trotting Association announced Friday afternoon. Lionel, Un Mec d’Héripré, Your Highness, and Timone EK are cited as the impacted horses. France-based Souloy manages a large stable, including many Group I level trotters. The 49-year-old has 1,125 career wins to his name, including 49 this year from 344 starts.
Cobalt is a naturally-occurring element in all horses and is not considered to be harmful at normal levels. It can be found in many horse feeds and vitamin supplements. However, administration of high doses of cobalt salts to horses has the potential to enhance athletic performance in a manner similar to blood doping agents and can cause detrimental effects on a number of body systems.
According to a release from Svensk Travsport, all four affected horses tested positive for elevated cobalt levels after competing at Bjerke Travbane in Norway June 12. Timone EK beat nine rivals in a 2,100-meter overnight that day while Your Highness, Un Mec d’Héripré, and Lionel finished first, third, and sixth, respectively in the Group 1 Oslo Grand Prix. Un Mec d’Héripré had additional positives on Elitloppet weekend.
Your Highness, a 7-year-old mare by Chocolatier, is an eight-time winner this year from 10 starts and sports two additional placings. She won the Group 3 Prix de Brest at Vincennes this January before capturing Group I wins in the Olympiatravet at Åby, the Copenhagen Cup at Charlottenlund, and the Oslo Grand Prix.
Un Mec d’Héripré is an 8-year-old son of Orlando Vici who this year had Group II successes in the Prix de Washington and Grand Prix du Departement 06 and won the Group I Åby Stora Prix. He and Your Highness are the only two horses to beat Elitlopp champion Nuncio this year; Nuncio finished second to Un Mec d’Héripré in an Elitlopp Elimination May 29 and Your Highness beat Nuncio in the Oslo Grand Prix.
Before the Elitlopp, pre-race tests on a number of horses were all negative. Samples were also taken from all horses placed in the Elitlopp final, where all except Un Mec d’Héripré, were negative. If it turns out that the B-sample on Un Mec d’Héripré from Elitlopp is positive, he will be disqualified from his third place finish in the final and his first place in the elimination.
Lionel is a 5-year-old by Look de Star. He’s won two Group I races this year, including the 4,150-meter Grand Prix de Paris where he became the only horse this season to beat Bold Eagle and thwarted that rival’s chance at the French Triple Crown. He also won the Prix de l’Atlantique.
Timone EK is a four-time winner from five starts this year and found stakes successes in the Gran Premio d’Europa and Gran Premio Tino Triossi in Italy between his start at Bjerke. The 4-year-old trotter is by Mr Vic.
The Swedish Trotting Association immediately handed Souloy a suspension from racing in Sweden and other Nordic countries as a result of the cobalt overages. They also notified the European Trotting Union UET of the suspension for enforcement throughout Europe. Although he won a race in France Friday evening, Saturday morning officials excluded Souloy from participation in that country as well.
According to Svensk Travsport, representatives of the Swedish and Nordic Trotting Associations visited Souloy’s stable Thursday, September 8 in an effort to further investigate their case.
“You never want to have positive doping test, but at the same time, this is a proof that our work is working. This has been a very good cooperation across borders. Our ambition and desire is to have a clean harness racing,” Swedish Trotting Association Veterinarian Antti Rautalinko said.
Sweden and Norway are investigating the case together and the case will then be handed over to the Scandinavian Doping Committee.