By: Jay Rooney
The WA Racing Trainers’ Association has called for an urgent overhaul of the national threshold for arsenic after a spate of positive swabs.
After meeting with Racing and Wagering WA general manager of integrity Denis Borovica, chief steward Brad Lewis and veterinarian Judith Medd last Friday, the WARTA will write to Racing Australia calling for the threshold to be raised.
The current threshold is 0.3 milligrams per litre in urine.
Stewards this week announced the seventh thoroughbred winner to test positive to arsenic in the past five months — the Dennis Barker-trained Diplomat Express at Belmont Park on June 20.
There have also been multiple positive swabs from the harness code and one greyhound.
Queensland thoroughbred stewards have also dealt with at least eight positive arsenic swabs in the past 18 months.
In the thoroughbred and harness cases dealt with so far, the illegal levels have been a result of horses chewing treated pine posts which contain traces of arsenic.
No penalties have been imposed on trainers, but the horses were disqualified.
“We’re trying to gather national momentum with other States to get Racing Australiato act urgently on the issue,” WARTA president Trevor Andrews said.
“It’s a national issue.
“The levels need to be raised … they’re certainly too low now.
“It’s important to get a resolution as quickly as possible.
“It’s a big enough penalty losing prize money. Trainers need to be vigilant about where their horses are stabled until we get this issue dealt with.”
Borovica said RWWA was conducting its own investigations and consulting other States after WA’s spate of positive arsenic swabs.
“We’re gathering more information and talking to other stewards and experts,” Borovica said.
“Some of the current cases won’t be progressing. Within the next 10 days we’ll have a more clear picture of what to do moving forward.”
Medd said a population survey on arsenic in horses in Australia would need to be done to determine whether the current threshold is too low.
Meanwhile, Andrews is excited about the return of his sprinter Illustrious Tycoon next month.
The Written Tycoon four-year-old is unbeaten from three starts. “He’s three weeks off trialling,” Andrews said.
“He’ll come back for some ratings races. He’s still a stallion and he looks good. Princess Pierro and Private Dancer are back in work for the carnival.”