Trainer Darren Smith’s cobalt case adjourned   Leave a comment

Trainer Darren Smith’s cobalt case adjourned

Mills said a horse’s natural cobalt reading should be between 5-10 micrograms per litre of urine.

Trainer Darren Smith.

Trainer Darren Smith.

THE man employed by Racing NSW to research the effect of cobalt on horses says the governing body’s threshold is 10 times greater than what he considers excessive levels, an inquiry has heard.

Trainer Darren Smith’s appeal against a 15-year ban for charges related to cobalt use took another twist on Monday when Professor Paul Mills gave evidence that he considered a cobalt reading of 20 micrograms per litre of urine to be “excessive”.

That amount is far less than the threshold of 200 micrograms per litre Racing NSW introduced on January 1 this year.

The lowest reading of the Smith-trained gallopers that is currently being disputed returned 220 micrograms per litre.

Mills agreed with Smith’s lawyer, Matthew Sterling, that based on the professor’s evidence, he considered a reading of 20 to be excessive.

Despite Mills’ findings — that cobalt became a banned substance when it reached excessive levels — forming the foundation of the argument against Smith, Racing NSW lawyer Phillip Boulton stated “the legal opinion of Racing NSW contradicts what Mills says”.

Racing NSW maintains cobalt “has always been a banned substance” if you follow the Australian Rules of Racing, which outlines five possible ways a substance, which otherwise isn’t named, can still be considered a banned substance. The avenue by which Smith’s case falls under is “blood”.

It’s been proven that cobalt affects the blood in a horse, and this combined with Racing NSW’s evidence that it is a performance-enhancing drug, constitutes a breach of the rules in their opinion.

Smith’s legal team argued the word cobalt is not used in the rules of racing and therefore any rule related to the alleged offences is open to interpretation. They asked “if a threshold was introduced before (Smith’s tests were conducted) would they be charging him with pre-threshold offences?”

They continued by saying “no other racing jurisdiction in the world has issued pre-threshold offences” before highlighting again that Racing NSW turned down an opportunity to introduce a threshold when Racing Victoria did on April 7 last year.

Originally published as Cobalt: How high is too high?

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Posted July 15, 2015 by belesprit09 in Uncategorized

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