The hearings centred around the use of Hydrocortisone in tablet form in racing greyhounds. The Hydrocortisone administered was in a tablet form known to be sold under the brand name of Hysone, which is commercially available under prescription and is intended for human use.
Beverley Bate pleaded guilty to procuring 6,000 of the Hysone tablets between 11 August 2012 and 6 July 2013 and a further 7,200 tablets between 7 May 2012 and 3 April 2013 for the purpose of administering to greyhounds.
Joe Briffa and Amy Cole pleaded guilty to administering tablets to dogs trained by Graeme Bate, Peter Hunt and Michelle Mallia-Magri without the consent or knowledge of those trainers. Of particular note in these findings is that there is no pending hearings for Peter Hunt or Michelle Mallia-Magri trained greyhounds and no positive swabs.
Hydrocortisone was specifically mentioned as a performance enhancer back in 2009 by Greyhounds Australasia when they were cracking down on performance enhancing drugs within the industry. Hydrocortisone and ACTH have been known to have been used since the early 90′s and have recorded very few positives. It has also commonly been used in the injectable form SoluCortef or used as an ACTH gel.
Again Hydrocortisone does exist in the greyhound in normal levels as cortisol. Cortisol increases blood pressure, blood sugar levels, blood levels of epinephrine or adrenaline, inhibits loss of Sodium and Pottassium and has strong anti-inlfammatory properties. All the things a greyhound preparing for 30 seconds of high intesity competition can utilise.
All three pleaded guilty to their respective charges and received the following penalties,
Beverley Bate – Three $500 fines for three separate charges and two disqualifications of six months, to be served concurrently.
Joe Briffa – Three $250 fines for three separate charges and two disqualifications of six months, to be served concurrently. An additional three months disqualification was handed down to Briffa, but has been suspended for 18 months.
Amy Cole – $500 fine that is wholly suspended for 12 months and a three month disqualification, two months of which is suspended for 12 months.
Of note is that Robert Camilleri pleaded not guilty to his charges and the RADB has reserved their decisions in relation to the charges. The RADB will hand down their decision on Tuesday, 10 June 2014 in relation to the charges against Camilleri.
This is the first Hydrocortisone case we are aware of in Victoria since the announcements in 2009 from Greyhounds Australasia in regards to clamping down on the use of illegal substances. The Owen Langley positive swab in NSW sparked interest, with Langley escaping with a fine and no suspension or disqualification.
The hearing for Graeme Bate is scheduled for June 10th and 11th and all industry participants will be awaiting the outcome of that hearing with great interest.