Chegia’s Appeal Against Four Month Disqualification Rejected

GRSA Stewards have confirmed that the appeal by Ossie Chegia against his four month disqualification for the positive swab returned by his greyhound Boozeroo during the Adelaide Cup series has been rejected by the Racing Appeals Tribunal.

On the 12th April 2011 GRSA Stewards completed an inquiry into the circumstances relating to the obtaining of the positive urine sample to Hydrocortisone from the greyhound Boozeroo at the Greyhound Racing SA meeting held at Angle Park on Thursday 13th January 2011.

That race was a semi final of the Group 1 Adelaide Cup and Boozeroo qualified for the 2011 Group 1 Adelaide Cup final by finishing second to Penthouse in the second Adelaide Cup Semi Final on Thursday 13th January 2011. Cosmic Chief finished third in the same race.

For an unknown reason the “A” portion of urinary swab sample was not analysed prior to the Adelaide Cup final, and Boozeroo took her place in the final. Boozeroo was subsequently disqualified from her second placing in the semi final, elevating Cosmic Chief to second qualifer in the semi final.

However as all this occurred on the 13th April 2011 and the Adelaide Cup Final was run and won on the 20th January 2011, there was no way for Cosmic Chief to take his rightful place in the final.

A similar situation is likely to occur in Victoria when GRV Stewards finally confirm that the Jason Thompson trained greyhound Proven Que Tee has returned a positive swab in the Warrnambool Cup heats but as the sample was not analysed prior to the final, Proven Que Tee raced in the final, potentially denying Radley Bale his chance in the Cup.

At the GRSA Stewards inquiry in mid-April Chegia was charged with a breach of the GRSA Rules Of Greyhound Racing R83 and pleaded guilty to the charge and was subsequently disqualified for a period of 4 months effective from Midnight Monday 12th April 2011. At the time Chegia was actually training a number of greyhounds for GRSA managed syndicates.

Chegia subsequently appealed to the Racing Appeals Tribunal against the GRSA Stewards decision.

That appeal was heard on Friday 10th June 2011 and the Racing Appeals Tribunal decision was that the Stewards penalty imposed remains unchanged.

While Chegia is unlikely to be happy with the final outcome, the industry as whole should be taking notice of the potential effect these retrospective disqualifications due to positive swabs might have on feature races.

What would be the outcome if Cosmic Chief’s connections decided to launch a legal challenge to have the Group 1 2011 Adelaide Cup run again?

Cosmic Chief is now officially recognised as the semi final second placegetter and as such qualified for the final. But he was denied the opportunity to race in the Group 1 final, as Boozeroo took his place.

Any potential legal outcome from such a challenge could be devastating, especially if the race was ordered to be re-run; but more likely with the high prizemoney on offer, a court would find it reasonably easy to decide that some form of financial compensation was an appropriate replacement for being denied the opportunity to race.

With races worth well over $100,000 now being run and won, it’s not hard to see how one of these such scenarios could cost the industry a significant amount financially, but also with regard to the public perception of the “professionalism” of greyhound racing.

Of course all of these scenarios and speculation are effectively avoided if the urinary swabs are analysed in a timely manner prior to the race series finals and appropriate action taken over any positives.

Why this consistently does not happen is anyone’s guess?