By: Kerrin Thomas
Racing New South Wales has handed bans ranging from nine to 15 months to four people found guilty over the stomach tubing of a horse before races in Tamworth and Gunnedah, in 2013.
The bans follow a Stewards Inquiry on Wednesday.
Chairman of Stewards, Mark Van Gestel, said under the rules of racing it was an offence for a horse to be administered a stomach tube within 24 hours of the appointed starting time of a race.
Trainer Cody Morgan, stablehand Luke Morgan, registered owner Max Rose and Robert Clement have all been handed disqualifications for the stomach tubing of Prussian Secret.
Mr Van Gestel, said the rule breaches went to the heart of the integrity of racing.
“This type of conduct won’t be tolerated, it tarnishes the reputation of our sport,” he said.
“For those reasons, these harsh penalties Racing NSW sees as necessary to ensure public confidence in the industry.”
Stomach tubing involves feeding a tube through a horse’s nose and down their throat into the stomach, to administer medication or liquid.
Certain substances when administered in this way can delay fatigue in race horses.
The Racing NSW inquiry, which started in December 2013, was adjourned to allow legal proceedings against Cody Morgan and Robert Clement to be determined.
Trainer avoids jail term
Earlier this year, Morgan and Clement were found guilty of engaging in conduct that corrupted the betting outcome of an event.
They administered stomach tube feeding of an amino acid substance to Prussian Secret before it won the Tamworth Cup.
Morgan was also found guilty of two other betting corruption charges.
The case was the first test of changes to the Crimes Act that were introduced in 2012 to crack down on sports gambling offences and it carried a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
But today the trainer avoided a jail term.
While hearing sentencing submissions, Acting District Court Judge Colin Charteris indicated Morgan would instead be given a period of community service and placed on a good behaviour bond.
He and Clement will be formally sentenced in September.
Prussian Secret stomach tubed before two races
According to a Stewards Report published on the Racing NSW website, Prussian Secret was stomach tubed prior to two races — the Tamworth Cup and Gunnedah Cup — both in early 2013.
At the Racing NSW Stewards Inquiry Cody Morgan pleaded guilty to two charges of causing a stomach tube to be administered to Prussian Secret within 24 hours of the appointed starting time of the Tamworth Cup and Gunnedah Cup.
He was issued a 15-month disqualification, and with time already served in 2013 and 2014, he was been permitted to maintain his current trainers licence.
Luke Morgan pleaded guilty to one charge of being party to the administration of a stomach tube to Prussian Secret with 24 hours of the appointed starting time of the Gunnedah Cup.
He has been disqualified for nine months, to expire on April 27, 2017.
Rose pleaded guilty to administering a stomach tube to Prussian Secret within 24 hours of the appointed starting time of the Gunnedah Cup.
He has also been disqualified for nine months, to expire on April 27, 2017.
Robert Clement did not plead guilty, but was found guilty of administering a stomach tube to Prussian Secret within 24 hours of the appointed starting time of the Tamworth Cup.
He has been disqualified for 12 months, to expire on 27 July 2016.
Mr Van Gestel said the parties have two days to appeal the Stewards’ decision.
Stomach tubing ‘rare’: Racing NSW
Mr Van Gestel has moved to reassure the public of the integrity of the industry.
He said these types of incidents were rare and Racing NSW goes to extreme measures to ensure compliance.
“Racing New South Wales inputs substantial resources into ensuring these type of matters don’t take place,” Mr Van Gestel said.
“We have an investigation and surveillance unit that is present prior to many race meetings, doing stable inspections, making sure that there’s adherence to the rules, in relation not only to this rule but many other rules in respect to the administration of substances.”