By: Adam Pengilly
Australian racing’s fairytale filly which chased Winx into third in the Cox Plate has been dragged into a drug probe after returning a positive swab to a banned substance during the spring carnival.
Stewards on Monday announced Yankee Rose, which beat all bar Australia’s wonder mare and Godolphin gun Hartnell in the Cox Plate, tested positive to an illegal drug in what looms as a test case of Racing NSW’s handling of licensed veterinarians.
The irregularity stems from when Yankee Rose ran second in the group 1 Flight Stakes at Randwick on October 1, seven days before she came out and won the Spring Champion Stakes and etched her name into the record books as the first filly to claim the race.
The Spring Champion Stakes was her last hitout before being pipped for second by Hartnell in a spine-tingling Cox Plate.
“Stewards have advised me that a swab sample taken from Yankee Rose following her second in the Flight Stakes has come back positive to Ketorolac,” Yankee Rose’s trainer David Vandyke said in a statement provided to Fairfax Media.
“This medication was prescribed and administered by a licensed veterinarian who treated Yankee Rose. As the inquiry is ongoing, I will not make any further comment at this time.”
Vandyke has been asked to front a stewards hearing on Friday.
Yankee Rose is all but certain to lose her second placing – and her mum-and-dad owners the lion’s share of the $99,000 second prize money – which was accrued in the race where she ran second to Global Glamour.
But the inquiry could be a precedent in how Racing NSW deals with cases such as Yankee Rose’s in the future given Vandyke, who is now based on the Sunshine Coast, had travelled the horse to Sydney for the race and she was treated by a veterinarian licensed by the state’s controlling body.
Racing NSW waged a long-standing and at times bitter fight to license veterinarians to regulate them under the rules of racing, which was implemented in September 2015.
It’s understood Yankee Rose was prescribed Ketorolac a week before running in the Flight Stakes – much longer than the commonly used withholding period of three clear days adopted by many veterinary practices around Australia.
Ketorolac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug and a case as recently as two months ago was heard in Queensland where its use was central to an inquiry after it was detected in a Kelly Purdy horse which finished third in a Gold Coast race in August.
Purdy was fined $3000 by Queensland Racing Integrity Commission stewards.
Yankee Rose is considered one of the most popular horses in Australia after high-flying syndicator Scott Darby forked out just $10,000 for her as a yearling before inviting a number of first-time owners to race the horse.
They rebuffed a multi-million dollar offer to sell the horse after the filly ran second in the Golden Slipper and won the subsequent Sires Produce Stakes earlier this year and she has now banked more than $2.1 million in prize money.
Darby Racing has unearthed another hidden gem in next year’s Golden Slipper second favourite She Will Reign, which cost just $20,000 and thrashed her Inglis Nursery rivals in the $500,000 sprint at Randwick recently.