Suspended Sentence For Disqualified Greyhound Trainers Heptaminol Positive

Greyhound Racing Victoria haven’t improved their reporting standards despite wholesale changes in their ruling executives.

Again it has taken them more than a week to publicly report a positive swab stewards inquiry. But better yet, the actual; positive swab occurred more than 12 months ago, and the person involved is already serving a 9 month disqualification for a Nandrolone positive swab.

No explanation at all was forthcoming from GRV Stewards as to why it took nearly 12 months from the date of the offence for the inquiry and RADB hearing to be held, except that a reference can be found to a directions hearing in October 2012, where concerns seem to have centred around the testing of the reserve “B” sample.

Nothing from the current Stewards Inquiry report would indicate any issue with the “B” sample testing.

Remarkably this positive swab inquiry comes when greyhound trainer Barry Wells is already serving a 9 month disqualification for a positive swab in one of his greyhounds to the anabolic steroid Nandrolone.

To raise further concern for racing integrity in Victoria, a positive swab in NSW to Heptaminol would attract a 24 weeks base penalty. Yet Wells has been handed an extremely light suspended disqualification and a $1,000 fine for this latest positive by the RADB. Effectively reducing the penalty for a positive swab to Heptaminol to a fine only.

Heptaminol is a strong vasodilator that stimulates cardiac output and improves peripheral blood flow. It is the same drug that Kazakhstani cyclist Dmitry Fofonov tested positive for in the 2008 Tour De France and a key ingredient in the injectable muscle stimulant, Kynoselen.

In the past few years penalties ranging from 2 years disqualification to 3 months disqualification have been received for Heptaminol posiitve swabs in greyhounds

Heptaminol Positives in Greyhounds

How do the RADB panel of former GRV Board member John Wardle, legal eagle Terry O’Connor, and The Meadows Secretary Manager Marg Long; justify an effective fine only penalty for a positive swab that has attracted such serious penalties in other cases?

How does a trainer already serving a 9 month disqualification get given the dispensation of a suspended sentence for a second offence?

This latest RADB hearing decision comes less than a month after they handed Andrea Dailly a fine only for a Carpfrofen positive swab, continuing the run of “light” penalties.

And, of course this couldn’t come at a worse time for Victorian racing integrity with the GRV betting fiasco still fresh in peoples minds, coupled with the ongoing inquiries in to betting jockeys and other racing industry inquiries related to the Taskforce Purana criminal investigations.

The very least the RADB could do would be to impose suitable sentences when proven offences come before them. With the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the RADB both sitting on this hearing, the phrases “lead by example” and “setting precedents” come to mind.

Are we asking for too much?

You be the judge. The RADB hearing report is reproduced below:

Following advice from the Racing Analytical Services Laboratory, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation into the results of a post-race urine sample taken from the greyhound ‘Jay Jays Girl’ at the Sale Greyhound Racing Club meeting on 28th December 2011.

During the investigation, Stewards heard evidence from registered Trainer Mr. Barry Wells and received written statements from Dr. John Vine (Racing Analytical Services Laboratory) and Dr. Alastair Smith (Sandown Veterinary Clinic).

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Wells with a breach of GAR83 (2) and (3) in that he did fail to present the greyhound ‘Jay Jay’s Girl’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Sale Greyhound Racing Club meeting on 28th December 2011, given the post-race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance ‘Heptaminol’.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules this constitutes a Serious Offence. As a result, on the 13th November 2012, this matter was heard by the Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C (b) and 83M of the Racing Act.

Ms. Helen Papakonstantinou represented Mr. Barry Wells at the RADB hearing.

Dr. Brian Williams (GRV Integrity Manager) represented the Stewards Panel.

At the beginning of the hearing, the RADB dealt with a claim of procedural unfairness in respect of the testing of the reserve sample taken from “Jay Jay’s Girl”. After considering submissions made by the parties pursuant to the Directions Hearing on 2 October 2012 and at today’s hearing, the RADB decided that it would accept the results of the testing of the reserve sample.

Mr. Wells pleaded guilty to the charge.

After hearing all the evidence tendered, the RADB found Mr. Wells guilty as charged and fined him the sum of $1000 and disqualified him for 3 months, wholly suspended for a period of 12 months pending no further breaches of GAR 83, effective 13 November 2012.

Acting under GAR 83(4), the RADB also disqualified ‘Jay Jay’s Girl’ from Race 8 at the Sale Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Wednesday the 28th December 2011.