Stewards wrap: Prominent NSW trainer given lengthy suspension

Stewards' wrap

CHARLES Northfield recently fronted a Greyhound Racing NSW () stewards inquiry charged with two breaches of the prohibited substances rule, GAR 83(2).

Both charges related to the greyhound Erin Choice which returned a positive urine sample to cobalt when competing at on February 27 and March 3 respectively.

Northfield entered an early guilty plea and gave evidence that the positive could have arisen from the greyhound being fed ‘downer’ cattle which may have contained high levels of cobalt and that the greyhound could have naturally high levels of cobalt.

Stewards considered the evidence and slapped Northfield with a 30-week suspension, back-dated to July 13 when he was advised of his positive and made the decision not to nominate any of his greyhounds while he conducted research into the likely cause of the positive swab.

Harris fined

Evelyn Harris has been fined by GRNSW stewards after one of her greyhounds tested positive for a banned substance. Harris’ greyhound Black Only Bonus returned a positive urine sample to when competing at Casino on June 2, 2017. She was charged with a breach of GAR 83(2) to which she pleaded guilty. Upon considering the circumstances of the case, stewards determined a $625 fine was the appropriate penalty.

Suspended fine for behaviour

George Kaoutal has escaped a GRNSW stewards’ with just a suspended fine after pleading guilty to a breach of GAR 86(g). The specifics of the case were that Kaoutal had abused, insulted and/or threatened a member of GRNSW on July 19. The inquiry panel considered numerous factors upon deciding on a penalty, including that Kaoutal had been licenced since 1994 with no prior offences. He was subsequently handed down a $1,000 fine which was wholly suspended under the condition that he does no re-offend in the next 12 months.

Cauchi disqualified

Chris Cauchi was the subject of a recent (QRIC) inquiry charged with a breach of the prohibited substances rule. The positive swab related to his greyhound Bonknocka Prince which returned a positive urine sample to amphetamine after competing at on June 3.

Cauchi was charged with a breach of GAR 83(2)(3) for which he was found guilty and was issued with a nine-month disqualification.

Suspended fine and ban for string of offences

QRIC stewards have finalised an inquiry into trainer Andrew Clarke for a range of offences. The inquiry was launched in June after Clarke failed to notify the QRIC licensing department of the movement of seven greyhounds between August 4, 2016, and June 26, 2017. Clarke pleaded guilty to a breach of GAR 105(4)(i).

When he gave evidence, the panel also established that between August 2016 and June 2017, Clarke had trained four greyhounds that he was not an owner of, a breach of the conditions of his licence. His licence only permitted him to train a greyhound he owned or owned by an family member living with him.

Clarke was charged with four breaches of GAR 86(b) – pleading guilty to two charges relating to the dogs Kerchris Lee and Jalancy Lee. He pleaded not guilty to the dogs Linken Bark and My Paw stating he had been anticipating a period of suspension from QRIC due to a matter which was being investigated by the RSPCA and so had not completed the relevant paperwork.

The QRIC found him guilty of all four breaches.

Additionally, on May 29 Clarke was charged by the RSPCA for failing to provide treatment to the greyhound Bookem. He pleaded guilty to the offence in the Gatton Magistrates Court and was fined $1,500 – 50 per cent going to the RSPCA. He was also ordered to pay council and court costs totalling $1,200 and vet fees of $961. He did not receive a criminal conviction.

Acting under GAR 95(8)(a) Clarke was charged and suspended for 12 months, with half suspended pending no breaches of similar rules in the next 12 months. He was also ordered to complete an animal husbandry course to be at least a Certificate II level.

For the breaches of GAR 105(4)(i) and 86(b) Clarke was fined $100 for each count, wholly suspended for 12 months pending no similar rule breaches.

Smyth fined

Lang Lang trainer Kerrie Smyth was given a partially suspended fine after being found guilty of breaching the prohibited substances rule. Smyth faced a Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board (RADB) inquiry after her greyhound Guns Ablazing returned a positive urine sample to meloxicam when competing at on May 20, 2017.

During the inquiry, Smyth said she had several theories how the swab may have arisen but could not prove any of them. She subsequently entered a guilty plea and was fined $1,500, with $1,000 suspended for 12 months pending no further breaches of GAR 83 in that period. Guns Ablazing was also disqualified from the event in question.

Kelly’s suspension suspended

Keith Kelly has been found guilty of a breach of GAR 83(2)(3) after his greyhound Podium Express returned a positive urine sample to and when presented to race at Geelong on May 23, 2017.

Kelly pleaded guilty and suggested that the swab could have been caused by contamination at the track, however this could not be proven. The board decided to impose a three-month suspension, wholly suspended pending no more breaches of the prohibited substances rule in the next 12 months. Podium Express was also disqualified from the race in question.

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