GAR 83 (1):Mr. Tony Vass the trainer of the greyhound ‘Sick Money’, which was nominated to compete in an Event, namely, Race 10, the Action Packed Images – Grade 5 T3, conducted by the Warragul Greyhound Racing Club at Warragul on 20 June 2014, did administer or cause to be administered the prohibited substance 5Beta-Androstane-3alpha, 17beta-DIOL at a mass concentration greater than 10ng/ml for the purpose of affecting the greyhound’s condition, behaviour or performance in the Event.
GAR 83 (2)(3)(6): Mr. Tony Vass the trainer of the greyhound ‘Sick Money’ which was nominated to compete in an Event, namely, Race 10, the Action Packaged Images – Grade 5 T3, conducted by the Warragul Greyhound Racing Club at Warragul on 20 June 2014, did fail on that date to present the greyhound free of any prohibited substance, given that a pre race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance 5Beta-Androstane-3alpha, 17beta-DIOL at a mass concentration greater than 10ng/ml.
Following advice from Racing Analytical Services Laboratory, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation into the results of a pre-race urine sample taken from greyhound ‘Sick Money’ at the Warragul Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Friday, 20 June 2014.
During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Mr. Tony Vass, Mr. Paul Zahra (Racing Analytical Services Laboratory) and Dr. Steven Karamatic (Greyhound Racing Industry Veterinary Officer).
After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Vass with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules as indicated above.
Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules a breach of GAR83 (1) and GAR83 (2)(3)(6) constitutes a Serious Offence. As a result, on Tuesday, 25 November 2014 this matter was heard before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Local Racing Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M(1) of the Racing Act.
Mr. Tony Vass represented himself.
At the hearing the Stewards called Mr. Paul Zahra and Dr. Steven Karamatic to give evidence each of whom were cross-examined by Mr. Vass. Mr. Zahra’s considered opinion was that the mass concentration level of the prohibited substance was not less than 380 ng/ml and that it was likely that the administration of the prohibited substance had occurred within a reasonably short time frame prior to the taking of the sample.
Mr. Vass gave evidence on his own behalf but called no witnesses.
After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR83 (1) and GAR83 (2)(3)(6), the RADB determined that:
(a) In relation to charge (1), Mr. Vass was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 5 years (with 2 years of this penalty suspended) and fined him $2,000.
(b) In relation to charge (2), Mr. Vass was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 12 months and fined him $1,000.
Both disqualification penalties for charge (1) and (2) to be served consecutively, effective from Tuesday, 25 November 2014.
Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified ‘Sick Money’ Race 10, the Action Packed Images – Grade 5 T3, conducted by the Warragul Greyhound Racing Club at Warragul on Friday, 20 June 2014 and amended the placings as follows:
1st Lachlan River
2nd Riley Boy
3rd Battle Flame
5th Power Dozer
7th Hay Ty
Disqualified Sick Money
In assessing penalties, the Board took into account all the evidence and submissions, including the following matters:
(a) Mr. Vass’ not guilty pleas and consequent lack of remorse;
(b) The nature of the prohibited substance 5Beta-Androstane-3alpha,17beta-DIOL
when present at a mass concentration greater than 10ng/ml and the apparent
prevalence of its use having regard to matters coming before the Board;
(c) The need to maintain the integrity of greyhound racing and ensure a level playing
field for all participants;
(d) Prior penalties for similar offences;
(e) The need for general deterrence as a factor in sentencing and having regard to the
number of similar offences coming before the Board;
(f) Specific deterrence in Mr. Vass’s case having regard to previous offences; and
(g) The attitude and demeanour of Mr. Vass in giving evidence to the Board.
It is not the first time that Tony Vass has been at the centre of a positive swab scandal. In August he was disqualified for a period of two months following a Dexamethasone positive from the same greyhound, Sick Money, from Tuesday, 4 March 2014. In addition to this he was found guilty of a morphine positive in 2008 and in 2013 he was found guilty of improper conduct towards a female steward at Cranbourne. Six years doesn’t seem like a long enough time for a serious, repeat offender like Mr. Vass, yet another example of a participant which our sport can do without.