Stewards round-up: Anxious wait for champion trainer Linda Britton

CHAMPION trainer Linda Britton must wait until next week to discover the outcome of an inquiry into one of her dogs testing positive to a controlled substance.

Racing and Wagering Western Australia’s general manager of racing integrity, Denis Borovica, said on Friday the result of the inquiry would be announced on Monday at the earliest.

WA stewards resumed the inquiry this week into the Britton-trained Zelemar Fever being found to have androstane and a metabolite of testosterone at a concentration greater than 10ng/ml after races in August.

The WA Racing Hall of Famer pleaded guilty to four charges and, after hearing submissions on penalty, the inquiry was again adjourned.

Britton, who trains near Mandurah, has dominated in her home state and been the leading trainer for more than a decade. She is greyhound racing royalty as the daughter of Victorian Hall of Famer Allan Britton and sister of top Victorian trainers Robert and Jeff.

Britton faced two charges charges under GAR 83(2)(a) in that she, as the trainer, nominated and presented Zelemar Fever to compete on August 16 and 23 not free of the prohibited substance testosterone, evidenced by the presence of 5β – androstane- 3α, 17β – diol at a concentration greater than 10 nanograms per millilitre in a urine sample taken from the greyhound, after it won and ran third in its races.

A third charge came under Rule 84A(1) – R84A for failing to keep treatment records detailing the administration of ethyloestrenol tablets to greyhound bitches, while the fourth related to the trainer having approximately 1500 ethyloestrenol tablets, a scheduled 4 medicine, in two unlabelled containers found by stewards in October in the fridge at her training premises which were not prescribed in compliance with the relevant provisions.
Post-race urine samples taken from Zelemar Fever on August 16 and 23 after races at Cannington were tested by the ChemCentre in Perth and have been verified by the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory in NSW.

NSW

Long-time trainer Leon Bozovitch has been fined $700, with $500 of it suspended, over a row at Wentworth Park on December 19. GRNSW stewards charged Bozovitch under GAR 86 (p) in that he failed a direction to re-kennel his greyhound and under GAR 86 (o) for misconduct, in that he threw his licence on the ground, speaking in a raised voice and hand gestures towards steward Norm Becroft. Bozovitch pleaded not guilty to both charges but was found guilty and fined $200 under GAR 86 (o) and $500 under GAR 86 (p). The $500 fine was suspended for 12 months. The stewards took into consideration the fact the trainer had been licensed for more than 40 years with no previous offences.

GRNSW has reported this week the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory has notified it of several sample irregularities. Guaiphenesin was detected in the sample taken from Ron’s Double (Robert McGregor) after it won at Casino on October 31; ranitidine was detected in the sample taken from Klienzan (Peter Lagogiane) after it won at Bulli on October 22; and ketoprofen in the sample taken from Miss Diddle (Robert Groizard Jnr) after it won at The Gardens on October 17. The trainers have been advised, with a reserve portion of each sample to be sent for confirmatory analysis at an accredited laboratory.

Meanwhile, trainer Joseph Sciberras has been disqualified for five weeks after pleading guilty to a charge under GAR 83 (2) (a) of having presented Havago Megsie for an event other than free of any prohibited substance. The urine sample taken from the greyhound after a win over 520m at Wentworth Park on June 6 last year was found on confirmatory analysis to contain O-Desmethylvenlafaxine. Stiles took into account Sciberras’ unblemished record in 31 years of training, his plea, and the Category 5 rating of the substance in the penalty guidelines. Havago Megsie was disqualified from the race as well as the final of the series eight days later in which it was seventh.

Queensland

Trainer Reg Hazelgrove was this week fined $1500.00 for presenting Fabulous Storm to race at Ipswich on October 23, 2014, with Procaine in its system. A urine sample taken after its win in race one revealed the prohibited substance. Racing Queensland had issued a charge against Hazelgrove pursuant to Greyhounds Australasia Rule 83 (2)(a), which reads: “The owner, trainer or person in charge of a greyhound nominated to compete  in an event shall present the greyhound free of a prohibited substance.” Stewards took into account Hazelgrove’s honest and forthright evidence and his involvement in the industry over a long period when considering the penalty.  Fabulous Storm was disqualified from its first placing in the 520m Novice Grade, with Tarks Black Rose promoted to first and Hazelgrove, who had pleaded guilty, was directed to return all prizemoney received to RQ.

Victoria

On Monday, reports GRV, the Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board fined Geoffrey Johnston $1000 and disqualified him after he failed to attend the inquiry. The disqualification will continue until the inquiry can be completed. Johnston had also failed to attend an inquiry on November 21 into certain conduct by Johnston when directed to do so by stewards. Johnston was charged with a breach of GAR86 (e), relating to failing to attend or give evidence at in inquiry when directed by the controlling body, stewards or the committee of a club. GRV chief steward advised that no communication had been received from Johnston.

AT the RADB on Wednesday, Invermay trainer Mim Gilders was suspended for four months, with two months of the disqualification suspended for 12 months, effective from midnight on Saturday. Gilders pleaded guilty to a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2) and (3) in that she did fail to present Bramwell Brown free of any prohibited substance for a race at Bendigo on October 1, 2014. A post-race urine sample indicated the presence of the prohibited substance 4-Hydroxy Xylazine. Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified Bramwell Brown from the T3 Maiden and amended the placings.

Past Discussion