Greyhound Racing NSW Stewards last week conducted an inquiry into analysts’ reports that the urine sample taken from Wisteria Valley after that greyhound won Race 2, the Neil Griffin Maiden Stake conducted by the Kempsey GRC at Kempsey on 16 July 2011 contained the prohibited substances Caffeine, Theobromine, Theophylline and Paraxanthine.
Evidence was taken from Trainer Joanne Willis, licensed attendant Laurel Sheather and Adam Cawley the Science Manager of the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory. Written evidence was entered from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory, Chem Centre (WA), ARFL Senior Veterinarian Dr Craig Suann and licensed Trainers Helen Hanson, Ronald Wright, Vincent Cassar, William Craig, Albert Zarb, Mervyn Turner and Barry Harmey.
Ms Willis pleaded guilty to a charge under Greyhound Racing Rule 83 (2) (a) in that she presented Wisteria Valley for the race in question not free of a prohibited substance as the urine sample taken from the greyhound was found to contain Caffeine, Theobromine, Theophylline and Paraxanthine.
After considering submissions on penalty Ms Willis was disqualified for a period of four (4) months.
In determining the penalty Stewards took into consideration Ms Willis’s unblemished record in relation to this Rule over a short 6 month involvement in the industry, the character reference supplied by Helen Hanson outlining the voluntary work undertaken by Ms Willis on behalf of the Taree GBOTA Branch, the nature of the substance involved (a stimulant with the potential to improve racetrack performance), the evidence from Mr Cawley that the level of the prohibited substances found in this sample was in the moderate to high range, Ms Willis’s inability to provide Stewards with a plausible explanation as to the finding of the substances, previous penalties given to other persons in relation to the same Rule, and the effects that such findings have on the image of greyhound racing.
Under Greyhound Racing Rule 83 (4) Wisteria Valley was disqualified from Race 2 the ‘Neil Griffin Maiden Stakes’ at Kempsey on 16 July 2011 and the placings were amended accordingly.