Leek Latest to Receive Cobalt Positive: Racing.Com 4/19/16

By: Tom Biddington

Pakenham trainer Matthew Leek is the latest to become embroiled in the cobalt saga.

Racing Victoria stewards announced on Tuesday that Leek’s horse Champagne Kisses returned a sample of 531 micrograms per litre of urine in a pre-race test on March 3.

The mare finished 11th in the Evergreen Turf F&M Maiden Plate (1400m) at Racing.com Park.

The reserve sample came back with a cobalt concentration of 600 micrograms per litre of urine.

Cobalt is a prohibited substance in accordance with the Rules of Racing at a concentration in excess of 200 micrograms per litre in urine.

Stewards initially informed Leek of the irregularity on 23 March 2016.

He was advised of the confirmatory findings on Tuesday, and stewards are continuing their investigation.

The cobalt scandal has engulfed the racing industry for the past 16 months, taking down some of the biggest trainers in the game.

Danny O’Brien, Mark Kavanagh and father-son combination Lee and Shannon Hope were disqualified for cobalt offences, but they are all appealing to VCAT.

Champion trainer Peter Moody was suspended for six months for a cobalt offence, while Lenny Xuereb and Terry and Karina O’Sullivan have also had horses record positives to the prohibited substance but those investigations are continuing.

In March, RV stewards decided against charging trainer Leek’s father John after his horse Spirit Cent also returned a cobalt positive.

The horse returned a sample of 228 micrograms per litre of urine, but the measurement of uncertainty in the reserve sample (210 with a 20-microgram level of uncertainty) meant charges couldn’t be sustained.