Stewards wrap: Sweet It Is loses her 2015 National Distance title

CHAMPION stayer Sweet It Is has been stripped of her 2015 Group 1 National Distance title after the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board (RADB) handed down its decision last week.

Trained by Braden Finn, the daughter of Mogambo and Off Springer returned a positive swab to the prohibited substance benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, after winning the Victorian Distance Championship at The Meadows on August 8, 2015.

The victory saw Sweet It Is qualify for the group 1 final, which she subsequently won, on August 22, 2015, at Wentworth Park.

Finn was found guilty of a breach of GAR 82 (2)(3) in that he presented the star chaser in a state which was not free of a prohibited substance, however the RADB reserved its decision on penalty last month.

Upon considering the evidence, the RADB handed down a 12 month disqualification to Finn, six months of which have been suspended pending no further breaches of GAR 83 over the next year.

With Finn giving evidence that he derived a large portion of his income from betting on greyhounds, the RADB altered the terms of the disqualification to permit Finn to attend training tracks for the purpose of attending race trials from October 18, 2016, to enable him to inform his punting decisions.

As a result of the decision, Sweet It Is was disqualified from the Victorian final on August 8, which therefore also disqualified her from the National final at Wentworth Park later that month.

The Distance Championship was the second group 1 title which was stripped from Sweet It Is throughout her career, having been disqualified from the Group 1 Duke of Edinburgh Silver Collar in New Zealand after returning a positive swab to caffeine.

Fred Bickerton disqualified for positive swab

Fred Bickerton faced the RADB on Tuesday charged with three rule breaches relating to GAR 83 (1A) and GAR 83 (2).

The specifics of the case were that Bickerton’s greyhound Pacific Dreamer returned a positive swab to the prohibited substances Cobalt and Atenolol prior to competing at Sandown Park on December 27, 2015.

The first charge GAR 83 (1A) related to administering a prohibited substance to a greyhound, while the other two charges, both GAR 83 (2), were in regards to presenting a greyhound to race in a state which is not free of a prohibited substance.

Bickerton pleaded guilty to all charges.

At the inquiry, Bickerton gave evidence that he injected Tripart into Pacific Dreamer on the morning before Pacific Dreamer’s race which was the likely reason for the Cobalt positive. Bickerton was not able to explain how the greyhound came to have Atenolol in its system, however mentioned that he used the drug as a prescribed medication for his own purposes.

Upon considering all of the evidence, the RADB imposed an 18 months disqualification for the breach of GAR 83 (1A), with nine months of that penalty suspended for 12 months provided no further breaches of GAR 83 during that period.

Having issued a penalty for the administration of Tripart which led to the Cobalt positive, Stewards imposed no extra penalty for the subsequent breach of GAR 83 (2).

On the Atenolol charge, the Board handed down a disqualification of nine months to be served concurrently with the penalty under GAR 83 (1A) in relation to the cobalt matters.

Bickerton’s disqualification will commence on July 28, 2016, while Pacific Dreamer has also been disqualified from the event in question.

Decrea to face stewards inquiry

South Australian trainer Dean Decrea will face a hearing with Greyhound Racing SA (GRSA) Stewards after an inquiry was opened following a routine kennel inspection at his property on June 7, 2016.

Decrea will front the hearing on Friday July 29 at Angle Park, while GRSA have advised that charges may be laid in accordance with the Greyhound Racing Rules.

Robert Lound fined

Queensland trainer Robert Lound recently fronted Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards for an inquiry into the scratching of his greyhound, Make The Switch, from a race at Cairns on June 17, 2016.

Lound was charged with a breach of GAR 23(7) in that he withdrew the greyhound from the event for an unacceptable reason. The specifics of the case were that the greyhound was scratched from the race on June 16, the day after being nominated.

Lound was found guilty as charged and was fined a sum of $500.

Smith called to inquiry over conduct

Warren Smith recently attended an RQ Stewards inquiry in relation to his conduct during a telephone conversation with RQ Integrity Services Officer Julie McKenzie on January 12, 2016.

A previous inquiry into the matter had been set down for January 19, but was adjourned when Smith failed to attend.

After considering all the evidence, Sewards reprimanded Smith under GAR 86(f), while he also pleaded guilty to a breach of GAR 86(e) for failing to attend the initial inquiry as directed.

Smith was subsequently fined $200.