Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) stewards today concluded inquiries into analysts’ reports that the urine samples taken from Sometimes Speedy and Punch One Out after those greyhounds ran first and second respectively in the final of the Dogpro National Futurity at Unibet Gardens on 15 February 2013, the sample taken from Yarramundi Flash after that greyhound won Race 5 at Unibet Gardens on 22 February 2013, and also the sample taken from Zipping Tess after that greyhound won Race 2, the Ultra Sense Heat 2 at Wentworth Park on 23 March 2013, had each been analysed and found to contain the prohibited substance 5beta-androstane-3alpha, 17beta-diol, a metabolite of testosterone, at a concentration of greater than 10 ng/ml in a bitch.
Evidence was taken over the course of hearings on 18 November 2013 and today from trainer Jason Mackay, who was granted representation from Lenz Legal at the initial hearing and was today assisted by veterinary surgeon Dr Peter Yore. Further evidence was taken today from Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) Science Manager Dr Adam Cawley, Racing Analytical Services Ltd (RASL) Laboratory Director Paul Zahra and from Racing Science Centre Qld (RSC) Acting Manager Analytical Services Samantha Nelis. Written evidence was tendered from the ARFL, RASL, RSC, GRNSW, Mr Mackay and Dr Yore.
Mr Mackay pleaded guilty to three charges under GAR 83 (2) (a) in that he presented Punch One Out, Sometimes Speedy and Zipping Tess for the races in question other than free of prohibited substances in that the urine samples taken from the greyhounds after their events were found on confirmatory analysis to contain the prohibited substance 5beta-androstane-3alpha, 17beta-diol, a metabolite of testosterone, at a concentration of greater than 10 ng/ml in a bitch.
As the referee sample taken from Yarramundi Flash that was delivered to RSC was not confirmed at a level greater than10 ng/ml, no finding was made in respect of that presentation.
On each charge Mr Mackay was subsequently fined $2,000.
In determining penalty, stewards took into account Mr Mackay’s guilty plea on each offence, his record of only minor breaches incurred over more than 20 years of training, his record of having more than 400 cleared samples over approximately the past 12 years, his personal circumstances of full time training and a significant industry investment, his standing within the industry and freely given assistance in training matters, his co-operation with the inquiry and during the kennel inspection, as well as previous record keeping.
As has been the case with other inquiries involving 5beta-androstane-3alpha, 17beta-diol, both in NSW and in other greyhound racing jurisdictions a measure of leniency was extended as stewards were mindful that this was one of the first reports of the presence at excessive levels of this substance in a greyhound sample in NSW after the introduction of the rule on 1 January 2013.
The fact that initial advice of irregularities could not be conveyed to Mr Mackay until after the last of the races in question led to the imposition of similar penalties in each case.
The particular factors in this case should not be seen as a precedent in similar cases of presentation of a greyhound found to have a Category Three level substance detected in a sample in the future.
A measure of both specific and general deterrence was also considered, particularly in regard to use of a product known to have extended excretion times. The importance of the races involved and the effects such reports have on the industry reputation were also considered. Mr Mackay admitted negligence in his knowledge of the introduction of the rule despite widespread alerts by GRNSW prior to and after the rule was introduced on 1 January 2013.
Sometimes Speedy and Punch One Out were disqualified from the National Futurity final under the provisions of GAR 83 (4) and the placings amended to:
1st – Winsome Charlee
2nd – Lil Miss Sparkle
3rd – Lil Miss Mohawk
Zipping Tess was disqualified from the heat of the Ultra Sense under the provisions of GAR 83 (5) and placings amended to:
1st – My Signature
2nd – Paua Of Darkness
3rd – Grovebrook Ruler
As Zipping Tess ran last in the final of that event, no order was made under the provisions of GAR 83 (5).
Mr Mackay was advised of his rights of appeal.