SUPERSTAR sprinter Dyna Villa will be scratched from this Sunday’s Group 2 Horsham Cup final as owner Paul Wheeler removes all of his greyhounds from trainer Nicole Davis’ property after her license was suspended by Greyhound Racing Victoria Stewards on Wednesday.
Davis’ suspension comes after one of her other dogs owned by Wheeler, Graff Bale, returned a positive swab sample to the prohibited substance amphetamine at The Meadows on April 29, 2015.
While the reserve portion of the sample is yet to be tested, GRV Chairman Ray Gunston spoke out on the findings on Thursday afternoon.
“It is appalling that another preliminary swab has come back with an irregular result for amphetamine,” Gunston said.
“The rigorous swabbing and testing procedures GRV undertake have again been able to identify an irregularity which now needs to be the subject of further testing.
“We test out-of-competition, pre-race and post-race and we also freeze and store samples. Anyone wanting to gain an unfair advantage will be caught.”
Wheeler, the owner of all the greyhounds involved in the saga, spoke to Australian Racing Greyhound on Thursday night, confirming his dogs will all be moved off the property and will go to other trainers to continue their careers.
“If I wanted to keep racing my dogs they had to be shifted, so all of the greyhounds on Nicole Davis’ property will be moved to my various other trainers in Victoria,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler has made the decision to scratch all of his greyhounds nominated to race under Davis’ name, including dual Group 1 winner Dyna Villa which will now miss the Horsham Cup, a race the greyhound is second favourite for.
Dyna Villa will now head to leading Victorian mentor Andrea Dailly, who also puts the polish on Wheeler’s freakish speedster, Fernando Bale.
“It was a mutual agreement [between Wheeler and GRV] to scratch the dogs,” Wheeler revealed.
“I didn’t think it was fair on the trainer, the punter or the dog to move kennels and then have to race on such short notice.
“The shift in kennels can take a fair bit of getting used to so it would be unfair for the trainer to have that responsibility and unfair for the punter to take the risk.”
The news of Davis’ positive swab hits barely a month after Jenny Hunt, who was formerly training the large team of greyhounds Davis took over on the same property, received an 18 month disqualification when one of her greyhounds returned a positive sample to amphetamine and methamphetamine, commonly known as ice.
Hunt herself took over the large training operation at Lara after her father-in-law, legendary trainer Graeme Bate, was disqualified for a number of prohibited substance charges in 2014.
Wheeler believes the positive swabs were not a deliberate attempt by the trainer to enhance the performance of the greyhounds.
“I don’t think any of it has been purposely done,” he said.
“I think its a contamination issue or a situation where the kennel has been nobbled — either way there is a crack in the system at the training establishment.
“We have been looking at the whole situation very seriously, even though a lot of people think we haven’t been.
“Since Jenny [Hunt] got the first positive we had been in contact with a company to look at drug testing the employees working on the property because we thought it might have been a contamination issue.”
Wheeler, whose greyhounds have won 10 Group races and over $800,000 in prize money so far in 2015, also confirmed he would consider selling his stock to China for the right offer.
“I went to China and had a look around at their set up. The way things are going I said to them that if anyone offered me the right money that I would sell it all, including the stud dogs,” he said.
“I have had one bloke call me about it, but so far nothing has happened.”