Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) Stewards finalised an inquiry into analysts’ reports of the finding of amphetamine in the urine sample taken from Governor Odessa after that greyhound won Race 9, the AAA Radiator Specialists Stake, 520 metres, run at the Wentworth Park meeting on Monday 5 August 2013.
Evidence was taken from trainer Darryn Melvaine, trainer Anthony Azzopardi, GRNSW Investigator Bill Beekman, GRNSW Integrity Officer Brad Frost and Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory Science Manager (ARFL) Dr Adam Cawley. Written evidence was also tendered from the ARFL, Racing Analytical Services VIC and Racing NSW Head Veterinarian Dr Craig Suann. Mr Melvaine further submitted references from Richmond Race Club General Manager Wayne Billett and licensed persons Alan Proctor, Christine Proctor, Mr Azzopardi, Terry Kingcott and Graham Rogers.
Mr Melvaine gave evidence that he had not administered any amphetamine to the greyhound but was unable to provide Stewards with any definitive source of inadvertent administration by a third party. Dr Cawley gave evidence that the level of amphetamine found in the sample was low.
Mr Melvaine subsequently pleaded guilty to a charge under GAR 83 (2) (a) of having been responsible for the presentation of Governor Odessa for the race in question other than free of any prohibited substance in that the urine sample taken from the greyhound after the race was found to contain amphetamine.
Mr Melvaine was subsequently disqualified for a period of 12 months, less the time he had already served as a suspension which commenced from the time of the confirmatory analysis being completed until the finalisation of the inquiry. Mr Melvaine’s disqualification will expire at midnight on 8 September 2014.
In considering penalty, Stewards took into account GRNSW’s Penalty Guidelines which has a starting point for Category 2 substances as 156 weeks. The penalty given to Mr Melvaine was mitigated by his good record of having never come before Stewards for any offence in 20 years of registration as a trainer, his guilty plea, the low level of the prohibited substance, the high number of greyhounds that Mr Melvaine has been responsible for presenting to the races for public trainer Mr Azzopardi that have returned negative samples, the references tendered on his behalf and his personal circumstances which includes his industry service as an official at Penrith and Richmond Race Clubs.
Notwithstanding the above considerations, Stewards are mindful of the potential for damage to the industry reputation caused by such reports.
Under GAR 83 (4), Governor Odessa was disqualified from the race in question and the placings amended accordingly.