By: Andrew Eddy
Kembla Grange trainer Paul Murray was on Wednesday notified that he has been disqualified from training horses for three-and-a-half years after Racing NSW stewards brought an end to his long-running cobalt case.
Murray, the son of former top trainer Bede, had been found guilty of five cobalt-related charges following a positive swab for the drug from his former galloper Alma’s Fury after it finished second at Randwick in April, 2013, as well as the discovery of a bottle that contained cobalt at his stables more than a year later.
The cumulative total from his five charges is a period of seven years disqualification but some of the penalties are to be served concurrently, leaving him with the disqualification period of three years and six months.
He was also fined $1000 and Alma’s Fury was disqualified from her second placing at Randwick that day.
The following is an excerpt from the Racing NSW stewards’ report released on Wednesday:
“For the purposes of determining the total penalty, the stewards have considered the following matters:
a) What message is to be given to this individual to not only ensure that in the future this type of conduct is not repeated, but to also ensure that there is an appropriate penalty imposed to indicate the response of the community to integrity and welfare issues;
b) What general message is required to be sent to the community at large to indicate to those who might be likeminded to engage in such conduct, what the likely consequences are, and, secondly, to indicate to the broader community who are not likely to engage in the type of conduct that, should it be detected, they, whether they be wagerers or people just generally interested in the individual code, will know that it is operating at the highest possible standards;
c) Murray has a clean record in respect of the relevant charges in his time in the racing industry;
d) His not-guilty pleas; and
e) In considering whether penalties should be served concurrently for the purposes of AR196(a), there is a commonality in respect of a number of the breaches, such that it would be an unfair result if the penalties were cumulative. In light of the above matters, the Stewards consider that where there is commonality, there should be an element of concurrency. Accordingly, the Stewards determine that the penalties in respect of breaches 1, 2 and 3 should be served entirely concurrently.”