Train­ers want sam­ples re-tested

Geelong Advertiser - - SPORT - RICK GOOD­MAN

FA­THER- AND- SON race­horse train­ers Lee and Shan­non Hope want three urine sam­ples to be re-ex­am­ined with a hi-tech new test­ing method as they fight lengthy bans for ad­min­is­ter­ing cobalt.

Lee Hope was dis­qual­i­fied for three years and his son Shan­non for five in Novem­ber 2015 when they were found guilty of dos­ing three horses with cobalt to af­fect their per­for­mance. But they launched an ap­peal against the bans in the Vic­to­rian Civil and Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal and they con­tinue to train under a stay of pro­ceed­ings un­til their case is heard.

The VCAT hear­ing be­gan yes­ter­day with the Hopes mak­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion to re-test urine sam­ples for each horse. They are seek­ing to use a new test­ing tech­nique that can iden­tify the pro­por­tion of “or­ganic” and “in­or­ganic” cobalt in the urine.

Their lawyer Rah­min de Kretser ar­gued cobalt is found in or­ganic feed and vi­ta­min B12, which are rou­tinely given to horses and not deemed to be per­for­mance-en­hanc­ing.

De Kretser said this new test could show that the cobalt in the urine may have been pre­dom­i­nantly “or­ganic”, com­ing from these cobalt-con­tain­ing prod­ucts. “It would be rel­e­vant to penalty,” he said. “It would mean the cobalt ad­min­is­tered was not per­for­mance en­hanc­ing. But it also goes to their be­lief of whether what they did was hon­est and rea­son­able.”

De Kretser also men­tioned a “bio-ac­cu­mu­la­tion” af­fect that may have oc­curred while giv­ing the horses cobalt-con­tain­ing feed, giv­ing rise to the lev­els. He said the tests should be done in the in­ter­ests of fair­ness, and added there was a chance the re- sults could ac­tu­ally go against the Hopes.

Rac­ing Vic­to­ria, which con­trols the sam­ples, op­posed the re-test­ing ap­pli­ca­tion. Ex­pert wit­ness Dr John Vine, a sci­en­tific con­sul­tant, said the new test is not yet ac­cred­ited for horse rac­ing.

“It would be purely done as a piece of re­search,” Dr Vine told the tri­bunal. But de Kretser said there were labs in Aus­tralia will­ing to per­form the test, which would be for the pur­poses of the tri­bunal ap­peal hear­ing.

The hear­ing con­tin­ues be­fore Jus­tice Greg Garde to­day.

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