Greyhound Racing Victoria have today advised that Victorian Hall Of Fame greyhound trainer Graeme Bate has been handed an effective nine month disqualification for returning an elevated Testosterone level in one of his greyhounds.
Following advice from Racing Analytical Services Laboratory, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation into the results of a pre race urine sample taken from greyhound ‘Gunda Bale’ at the Geelong Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Thursday, 28 March 2013.
During the investigation, Stewards heard evidence from registered trainer Mr. Graeme Bate, Mr. Joe Briffa (Registered Trainer), Paul Zahra (Racing Analytical Services Laboratory) and Dr. Steven Karamatic (Greyhound Racing Industry Veterinary Officer), Dr. Alastair Smith (Veterinary Surgeon at Sandown Veterinary Clinic) and Mr. Tony Vandenberg (General Manager of Compliance and Governance at the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia).
After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Bate with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rule 83(2) and (3) in that he did fail to present the greyhound ‘Gunda Bale’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Geelong Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Thursday, 28 March 2013 given that the pre race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance 5β-ANDROSTANE-3α, 17β-DIOL at a mass concentration greater than 10 ng/mL.
Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules this constituted a Serious Offence. As a result, on Monday, 14 October 2013 the matter was heard before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Local Racing Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M(1) of the Racing Act.
Mr. Graeme Bate was represented by Mr. Phillip Boulton SC who was instructed by Mr. Vincent Murphy Solicitor.
Mr. Paul Holdenson QC with Mr. Chris Winneke represented the Greyhound Racing Victoria Stewards Panel instructed by Corrs Chambers Westgarth Solicitors.
Mr. Bate pleaded guilty to the charge.
After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR83 (6), the RADB determined that Mr. Bate was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 12 months (with 3 months of this disqualification suspended pending no further breach of GAR83 during this period) effective from midnight Wednesday, 23 October 2013.
Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified ‘Gunda Bale’ from Event 7 – City of Greater Geelong Mixed 4/5 – at the Geelong Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Thursday, 28 March 2013 and amended the placings accordingly.
Graeme Bate spoke with Australian Racing Greyhound in the wake of today’s decision and was “naturally very disappointed and a bit taken aback” by the sentence. But it was the severity of the nine month disqualification which shocked the leading trainer, “I was expecting something, but I was not expecting that” said a despondent Bate.
Bate intends to appeal the decision with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). He will be seeking a stay of proceedings from VCAT and GRV Stewards to allow him to continuing training until the VCAT appeal ruling can be decided upon. That VCAT hearing is expected to be heard and finalised within four to six weeks.
In recent years Bate has had what many believe to be a lucky run with positive swabs, having never been disqualified despite return a positive swab to Morphine in 2002, two positive swabs to Procaine in 2009 and 2010, and a positive swab to Diclofenac (an NSAID) in 2011. Those recent positive swabs have cost Bate an SA Derby and a Darwin Cup victory.
Graeme Bate’s Recent Positive Swabs
Ironically, Bate was instrumental in a research project started in 2005 by Greyhounds Australasia (GA), Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL), the Australian Greyhound Veterinary Association (AGVA), and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) which helped establish the current Testosterone threshold levels in bitches.