Cobalt scan­dal spreads

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - BRAD DAVID­SON

THE two Queens­land train­ers most re­cently em­broiled in rac­ing’s cobalt dop­ing scan­dal have protested their in­no­cence and will fight to clear their names.

Toowoomba thor­ough­bred trainer Rochelle Smith will face a stew­ards’ in­quiry next week af­ter two horses in her care tested pos­i­tive to cobalt.

The Smith- trained Vimzig re­turned a pos­i­tive cobalt sam­ple af­ter win­ning a race at Too- woomba on May 16, and sta­ble­mate Grey Countess also re­turned a cobalt read­ing above the thresh­old af­ter fin­ish­ing sec­ond in a race at the Gold Coast on May 30.

One of the state’s big­gest har­ness rac­ing names, Dar­rel

I’ve had 130 win­ners for the sea­son and all of a sud­den one of these come up MAFUTA VAUTIN TRAINER DAR­REL GRAHAM

Graham, also faces an in­quiry next month af­ter his horse Mafuta Vautin re­turned a pos­i­tive cobalt read­ing af­ter win­ning the Group 2 Qbred Triad 4YO En­tires & Geld­ings Fi­nal at Al­bion Park on May 30.

All three pos­i­tive sam­ples were recorded well af­ter the 200 mi­cro­gram per litre of urine na­tional cobalt thresh­old was in­tro­duced for both codes.

News Corp can also re­veal there has been a fur­ther cobalt ir­reg­u­lar­ity recorded in Queens­land har­ness rac­ing.

The trainer in­volved has been no­ti­fied but RQ stew­ards are wait­ing on sec­ondary test re­sults be­fore lay­ing any pos­si­ble charges.

Graham, third in the statewide train­ers’ premier­ship this sea­son, with his horses earn­ing more than $ 643,000 in prize­money in 2014- 15, said he was stunned by the re­sults.

“I’m com­pletely bam­boo­zled. I’ve had 130 win­ners for the sea­son and all of a sud­den one of these come up,” said Graham, cur­rently in Amer­ica.

“The horse was a ($ 1.40) favourite and we own the horse our­selves and he drew one and if you have a look at the horse’s per­for­mances he has had ( 18 starts and won 12).”

Smith also pleaded her in­no­cence yesterday.

“I’ve done some re­search into nu­mer­ous sup­ple­ments that we use that con­tain lev­els of cobalt, so that’s the av­enue I’m in­ves­ti­gat­ing,” she said.

“I’m blown away, es­pe­cially at the lev­els of one of them.”

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