ATA STATEMENT – Cobalt Rule / Victoria / 13 Feb, 2015

Friday 13 February 2015

The ATA is disappointed and concerned that Racing Victoria has chosen to decline our formal request to provide an explanation as to why no advice or warnings were issued when the Local Rule of Racing (LR 68A) establishing a threshold for cobalt was introduced in Victoria in April 2014.

The Australian Rule of Racing, introduced in December 2014 by the ARB, establishing a national rule to set a threshold of 200 micrograms of cobalt per litre of urine in horses, carried the following explicit warning to trainers:

“Trainers are advised that the administration particularly by injection and on multiple occasions, of certain registered vitamin supplements close to racing may result in a level of cobalt in a subsequent sample that exceeds this threshold. Trainers are therefore advised to avoid the use of these supplements close to racing. Examples of injectable vitamin supplements that contain cobalt and/or vitamin B12 include but are not limited to V.A.M. injection, Hemo-15 and Hemoplex”.

While the ARB saw fit to issue such an explicit warning with the introduction of the Rule in December 2014, we cannot understand why Racing Victoria did not issue similar advice and warnings to trainers with the introduction of the Victorian Rule of Racing in April 2014.

We note that the ARB statement including the advice and warnings to trainers has since been published in the February issue of Inside Racing.

As the Principal Racing Authority in Victoria it is both incumbent upon and the responsibility of Racing Victoria to provide as much advice and information to trainers when new rules are introduced. This must be done at all times.

The reputations and careers of all participants must be foremost, as should the image of the racing industry. In this instance we strongly support our members under investigation, and reiterate the absolute necessity to apply the fundamental rights of the presumption of innocence to them.

The ATA has been a vocal advocate of a level playing field and will continue to do so.