CHAMPION stayer Sweet It Is looks destined to lose her 2015 Group 1 National Distance Championship title after trainer Braden Finn was found guilty of a breach of the prohibited substance rule.
After months of hearings into the matter, the Victorian Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board (RADB) found Finn guilty of a breach of GAR 83 (2)(3) after the star chaser returned a positive urine sample to cocaine.
Sweet It Is returned the positive sample after winning the Victorian Distance Championship at The Meadows on August 8, 2016, with the victory securing her a start in the National Final, which she subsequently won, at Wentworth Park on August 22.
Finn, who pleaded not guilty, has been fighting the charge, with the RADB reserving its decision on the matter last month.
However, in a statement released on Thursday, the Board concluded Finn was guilty of presenting the greyhound to race when it was not free of a prohibited substance.
“We are satisfied on the balance of probabilities, having regard to the seriousness of the offence, that the stewards have excluded all reasonable possibilities of external contamination of the greyhound with cocaine after the running of the race,” the RADB said in its statement.
Finn has not been charged with administration of cocaine or BZE to Sweet It Is. The stewards are not required to prove any such administration but rather, just need to prove that the greyhound was presented to race with a prohibited substance in its system.
“In this case, it is open to the Board to form the view that the identity of the agent of ingestion is unknown to the parties,” the statement went on to say. “We are comfortably satisfied that the stewards have proved the charge laid against Mr. Finn.”
Despite being found guilty, the board is yet to hand down a penalty which is set to be given at a seperate hearing on a date to be confirmed.
It is not the first time Sweet It Is, which won over $1 million in prize money, has been embroiled in controversy. After winning both a heat and the final of the Group 1 Duke of Edinburgh Silver Collar in New Zealand in 2015, the bitch tested positive to the prohibited substance caffeine.
Sweet It Is was later stripped of the overseas victory after Finn was found guilty by Greyhound Racing New Zealand.
The daughter of Mogambo and Off Springer shot to prominence in 2014 when she won the Group 1 Sandown Cup. She then went on to win a further eight group races before being retired in 2015 with $1,032,445 in prize money, making her the third highest stakes winner of all time.
Among her major victories were wins in the 2014 & 2015 Group 1 Sandown Cups, the 2014 & 2015 Group 1 National Distance Championships, the 2014 Group 1 Association Cup and the 2014 Group 1 Bold Trease.
Sweet It Is was trained throughout the majority of her career by former top trainer Darren McDonald who was disqualified as a part of the infamous live baiting scandal, with Finn taking over her training in March 2015.
Since being retired, the black bitch has whelped a litter of six pups to Turanza Bale which were born in January.