By: Jamie Searle
New Zealand Sports Hall of Famer and racing great Lance O’Sullivan has been charged with racing three horses with high levels of cobalt in their system.
O’Sullivan and co-trainer Andrew Scott have been charged by the Racing Integrity Unit on Friday.The pair are the first New Zealand trainers to be charged with a cobalt offence.
The Matamata trainers have three horses under investigation – Sound Proposition, Quintastics and Suffire.
The cobalt threshold in racing is 200 micrograms per litre of urine.
Sound Proposition was swabbed after he ran third in the New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie in February last year. The Racing Integrity said he returned 541. It also said Quintastics had a reading of 640 when tested after winning at Matamata in March last year and Suffire’s swab following her win at Tauranga in February last year was 309.
The Integrity Unit’s press release on Friday stated its investigation showed the circumstances surrounding the cobalt positives were “significantly” different to the recent Australian cases, where trainers were charged with the administration of a prohibited substance.
O’Sullivan and Scott told the Integrity Unit that their investigation into the swabs revealed the three horses “had been exposed to heavily cobalt dosed water troughs the horses shared with dairy cattle.”