PROMINENT Queensland horseman Darrel Graham has had a minor victory in his appeal against disqualification.
Graham took his case to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal after receiving a 15-month disqualification by Racing Queensland stewards.
Stewards charged Graham under Australian Harness Racing Rule 190 after Mafuta Vautin’s pre-race urine sample was analysed and certified to have a cobalt level in excess of the then threshold of 200 micrograms per litre before his win at Albion Park in May 2015.
AHRR Rule 190, which, in part, provides: (1) A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. (2) If a horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1) the trainer of the horse is guilty of an offence.
In August 2016 stewards found Graham had infringed the AHRR and he was subsequently disqualified.
With his case heard by QCAT, Senior Member Aughterson altered the sentence to a 12–month suspension of Graham’s trainer’s and driver’s licences.
“I have reached the conclusion that the appropriate penalty in the present case is to suspend Mr Graham from holding licences to train and drive a horse for 12 months, effective two weeks from the date of this order,” Aughterson noted.
“Even leaving to one side the arguable incongruity in allowing a suspended trainer to drive and be seen to be driving a horse in a race, mindful of the objectives of ensuring the integrity of and public confidence in the racing industry and the principle of general deterrence, in my view the suspension of both licences is appropriate given the nature and circumstances of the breach.”