McDonald Escapes With Only $500 Fine For Positive Swab

Victorian GRV Stewards Brian Williams and Glen Fish have just concluded their Stewards Inquiry in to the positive swab returned by Horsham runner Carlinford Ron trained by Darren McDonald.

This positive swab was notable not just because it was a greyhound trained by one of Victoria’s leading greyhound trainers, but because was the second positive swab in Victoria in a greyhound to Buscopan after El Galo lost the Group 1 2008 Topgun swabbibng positive to the same substance.

News of McDonald’s positive swab surfaced just as Thompson was preparing to appeal against El Galo’s Topgun disqualification, and it highly likely that with two positive swabs to Buscopan in inquiry at the same time, that influenced Thompson’s decision not to appeal.

Stewards on 30 March, 2009 conducted an Inquiry into the post-race urine sample taken from the greyhound “Carlinford Ron” at the Horsham GRC meeting on 27 January, 2009 indicating the presence of the prohibited substance N-butylhyoscine, the active ingredient in Buscopan.

On the day in question Carlinford Ron was an all the way winner running a near record 26.79 for the Horsham 480m distance winning by 8 lengths unchallenged. The long standing Horsham Track Record is Crash’s 26.68. The start prior over 570m at Horsham, Carlinford Ron had finished 11.50 lengths last in the slow time of 33.65.

At the inquiry, Stewards heard evidence from Mr. Darren McDonald (Trainer), Mr. Andrew Mills (Deputy Chief Steward), Mr. D. Batty (RASL) and Dr. Alistair Smith (Veterinary Surgeon).

After hearing the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Darren McDonald with breach of GAR 83(2)(3) in that he did fail to produce the greyhound “Carlinford Ron” free of any prohibited substance for an Event at the Horsham GRC on 27 January 2009, given that a post-race urine sample indicated the presence of the prohibited substance N-butylhyoscine.

Mr. Darren McDonald pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Stewards found Mr. Darren McDonald guilty as charged and fined him the sum of $500.

Darren McDonald now joins Jason Thompson, Rob Britton and Graeme Bate as leading Victorian greyhound trainers who have returned positive swabs in their greyhounds and received a fine only with no period of disqualification or supension.

More recently Neville Vincent also received a fine only for presenting his greyhound to race and subsequently swabbing positive to Procaine and Flunixin, and Wendy Connell received a fine only for swabbing positive to Procaine. But in both those inquiries it was accepted that meat contamination was a possible source of the positive swab.

That’s not the case with Buscopan.