Greyhound Racing NSW stewards have concluded an inquiry into analysts’ reports of the finding of amphetamine, 4-hydroxyamphetamine, caffeine, theophylline, paraxanthine, and theobromine in the urine sample taken from Feedback Icon after that greyhound won the Mount Franklin Maiden Heat (520m) at Dapto on 17 July 2014.
Feedback Icon’s trainer Patrick Wood failed to appear at the inquiry despite a direction to attend from stewards. As a result, the inquiry proceeded in Mr Wood’s absence.
Evidence was taken from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory’s (ARFL) Dr Adam Cawley. Written evidence was submitted from the ARFL, Racing Analytical Services Victoria and GRNSW investigator Bill Beekman.
During a kennel inspection conducted at Mr Wood’s premises, admissions were made of administration of an amphetamine tablet and a spoonful of coffee two days prior to the race. These admissions however were refuted by Dr Cawley with the levels of the amphetamine being in excess of five times greater than that ever returned to the same substance, which was consistent with a race day administration. Similarly the detected levels of the caffeine and its metabolites also supported race day administration.
After failing to attend the initial scheduled inquiry, Mr Wood was charged by correspondence with a breach of GAR 83(2)(a), and directed to formally lodge a plea with respect to the charge. Mr Wood also ignored this direction, with stewards in recognition of his admissions lodging a plea of guilty on his behalf in his absence.
After considering all the evidence, stewards disqualified Mr Wood for a period of ten years.
In determining penalty, stewards took into account Mr Wood’s record whereby in the lone three urine samples taken from greyhounds trained by him, this was the third occasion he had been found guilty under the prohibited substance rules. Stewards also factored in the excessive level of the Category Two substance under the GRNSW Penalty Guidelines, the lack of contrition shown by Mr Wood for his actions, and the general deterrence for similar behaviour, enforcing GRNSW’s policy of drug free racing.
Under GAR 83(4) Feedback Icon was disqualified from the race and the placings amended accordingly.
Mr Wood was advised of his right of appeal.
Great to see GRNSW putting their foot down and acting with authority on such a major issue. With such a high level reading it is pertinent that they set a precedent for all other participants that disregarding the rules of greyhound racing will not be tolerated. Mr Wood refusing to appear at the inquiry or enter a plea further emphasises his wrong doing and disregard for the sport and makes him a prime example of the type of person we do not need in the greyhound racing industry. In ARG’s opinion, three positives from just three swab samples should see him banned for life, but, we guess a decade is a good start.