Cotton’s greyhound, Vapour Shaker, returned a positive swab to the anabolic steroid metabolites, 17-α-methyl- 5α-androstane-3β, 17-β-diol and 17α-methyl-5α-androstane-3β, 16α, 17β-triol. The posiitve swab to the metabolites suggest the administration of MethyltTestosterone, a drug which saw New South Wales greyhound trainer Tim Murray disqualified for 4 months for 2 positive swabs in his greyhounds in August 2011.
Verity Cotton sprung to prominence as a greyhound trainer when Boozeroo won the 2009 Group 1 Sandown Laurels giving her a breakthrough group greyhound racing win, and creating emotional scenes with partner Malcolm Hirtzel post race.
In an unfortunate irony Boozeroo was also the focus of a positive swab shock this year, when a positive swab to Hydrocortisone in the semi finals of the 2011 Adelaide Cup was not processed before the Group 1 final and Boozeroo took her place in the final, but was subsequently disqualified from both races and has never raced since. The positive saw her SA trainer Ossie Chegia receive a 4 month disqualification after a lengthy inquiry and appeal process.
On the day related to the positive swab however, Vapour Shaker just narrowly failed to reel in all the way leader Bouncer Norris over the Geelong 460m trip, going down by just a nose at the lucrative odds of $10.10.
Following advice from the Racing Analytical Services Laboratory, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation into the results of a pre-race urine sample taken from the greyhound Vapour Shaker at the Geelong GRC meeting on 1 September, 2011.
During the investigation, Stewards heard evidence from registered Trainer – Ms. Verity Cotton, licensed person – Mr. Malcolm Hirtzel and received written statements from Dr. John Vine (Racing Analytical Services Laboratory) and Dr. Alistair Smith (Sandown Veterinary Clinic).
After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Ms. Cotton with breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rule 83(2) and (3) in that she did fail to present the greyhound Vapour Shaker free of any substance for an event at the Geelong GRC meeting on 1 September 2011, given the pre-race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance 17-α-methyl- 5α-androstane-3β, 17-β-diol and 17α-methyl-5α-androstane-3β, 16α, 17β-triol.
Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules this constituted a Serious Offence. As a result, on Wednesday, 21st December, 2011, this matter was heard before the Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M of the Racing Act.
Mr. Malcolm Hirtzel represented Ms. Verity Cotton who was also in attendance.
Ms. Cotton pleaded not guilty to the charge.
After hearing all the evidence tendered, the RADB found Ms. Verity Cotton guilty as charged and disqualified her licence for a period of 9 months (effective midnight 22 December, 2011).
Acting under GAR83(5), the RADB also disqualified ‘Vapour Shaker’ from Race 8 at the Geelong GRC meeting held on 1 September, 2011 and amended the placings accordingly.