Firocoxib Positive Swab Inquiries Sound Industry Warning & Could Prove Expensive For Russell Mansley & Lorraine Atchison

Greyhound Racing New South Wales Stewards have announced inquiries into analyst’s findings of the prohibited substance Firocoxib in the samples taken from the greyhounds Thrilling Bloom, Thrilling Frank and Low Key at the race meetings at Wentworth Park and Betchoice Gardens in February and March this year.

All greyhounds are trained by Black Hill Hunter Valley greyhound trainer Russell Mansley and owned by prominent owner and breeder Lorraine Aitchison. The three greyhounds in question are all from the March 2009 Primo Uno x Ready To Star litter.

Disturbingly for connections, one of the positive swabs may relate to the win of Thrilling Frank in the 2012 Wentworth Park Betfair Gold Cup on March 17.

The 2012 Gold Cup, renamed the Betfair Cup for this year was a Group 2 race worth $25,000 to the winner and $6750 for second.

The Mansley trained greyhounds Thrilling Frank and Thrilling Bloom quinelled the race, earning $31,750 for connections.

That first place prizemoney of $25,000 now looks likely to go to the Keith Pedrana trained Slick Lee as winner, with the Simon Rhodes trained Gail Allen elevated from fourth to second, and the Ray Smith trained Irinka Gabby likely to be elevated from fifth to third and earn $3,125.

Of note though and perhaps unfairly to the Mansley trained greyhounds under inquiry, other than Thrilling Frank and Thrilling Bloom only Slick Lee was swabbed in the Betfair Gold Cup final, so Gail Allen and Irinka Gabby may be officially placed and rewarded prizemoney without having to clear a urinary swab.

The positive swabs in question all relate to the finding of Firocoxib in the swabs, which is the active ingredient in the veterinary pharmaceutical Previcox. Previcox is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) which as the category suggests is used to reduce inflammation and routinely used to alleviate problems associated with joint problems such as arthritis.

Of interest GRNSW Stewards issued an advisory notice in September 2009 that Firocoxib would be routinely screened for in urinary swabs. That advice seems to have gone unheeded.

At the time GRNSW Stewards acknowledged that “there is no known data supporting the withholding period of any preparation containing Firocoxib in greyhounds”; in otherwords, there is no known safe time to use a preparation containing Firocoxib prior to racing a greyhound to avoid a positive swab.

It is understood that despite the 2009 GRNSW stewards advice many greyhounds may have been racing under treatment from Firocoxib preparations under veterinary advice, based on the assumption that they would not return a positive swab. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that until recently, that had been the case.

The Stewards inquiry will be conducted in the offices of The Gardens race track on Thursday 24 May 2012, commencing at 11am.