On 24 October 2019, RWWA Stewards commenced the inquiry into the report from the ChemCentre in Perth, that cobalt at a concentration in excess of 100 micrograms per litre, being the threshold prescribed in the Harness Rules of Racing, had been detected in a urine sample taken from TELLMETOATTACK at Bunbury on 20 July 2019 where it had raced and finished first.
Trainer Mr Andrew De Campo subsequently pleaded not guilty to a charge issued by Stewards under Harness Rule of Racing 190 with the particulars being:
- that as the trainer, he presented TELLMETOATTACK to race at Race 3 at Bunbury on 20 July 2019, where it raced and finished first, not free of the prohibited substance cobalt, evidenced by a concentration of cobalt at a level in excess of 100 micrograms per litre in urine.
After adjourning the matter, Mr De Campo was advised on 29 October 2019 that Stewards had determined to find him guilty.
The inquiry was resumed on Thursday 7 November to hear submissions on penalty.
After reserving their decision to consider penalty, Stewards have now determined the appropriate penalty to be a disqualification of 18 months.
As Mr De Campo was already disqualified for a period of 6 months in relation to a separate matter involving the detection of Dexamethasone in two of his runners, after taking into account principles of totality, the Stewards directed that the period of disqualification that is to apply, and be served at the conclusion of that 6 month period of disqualification, is a further period of 12 months disqualification, which will expire as of midnight 17 March 2021.
Further, acting under Harness Rule of Racing 195, the Stewards have determined to disqualify TELLMETOATTACK from the race in question with the placings to be amended accordingly with the commensurate implications to all stake money and payments to apply.
In determining penalty Stewards took into account several factors including:
- Mr De Campo’s personal circumstances and history in racing.
- His previous record which included three previous offences relating to the detection of prohibited substances.
- The nature of the substance and the seriousness of horses being presented for, and competing in races with a level of cobalt above the prescribed threshold of 100ug/L which in this case was reported as being 240 ug/L.
- Previous penalties imposed in relation to this substance and the need for deterrence both general and specific.
- The widely published RWWA material warning about the use of certain supplements which states, amongst other things:
o That a normal racing diet is more than sufficient to meet a horse’s nutritional requirements for cobalt and vitamin B12.
o That registered injectable cobalt supplements offer no nutritional advantages because incorporation of cobalt into the vitamin B12 molecule occurs within the horse’s gut.
o To consult with their veterinarians to ensure that their oral supplementation regimen provides only the amount of cobalt necessary to meet the scientifically established nutritional requirements of the horse for cobalt.
o “Whilst the threshold has been set at a level to allow for normal levels of cobalt supplementation through routine nutritional sources, trainers are advised that the administration of certain registered vitamin supplements, particularly by injection, close to racing may result in a level of cobalt in a subsequent sample that exceeds this threshold. Trainers are therefore advised to avoid the use of supplements close to racing.”
- RWWA Media