The Stewards today concluded their inquiry into the analyst’s reports relative to the finding of phenylbutazone and its metabolite oxyphenbutazone in the pre-race urine sample taken from MIDNIGHT RATTLER on the morning of 18 May 2016 and in a subsequent urine sample taken from that horse later that day under post-race conditions. MIDNIGHT RATTLER was withdrawn from the Tan Shan River Handicap conducted that night at the Happy Valley racemeeting by order of the Stewards after acceding to a request from Mr J Moore, the trainer of MIDNIGHT RATTLER, to withdraw the horse from the aforementioned race.
Evidence was taken today from Mr Moore, Mr C W Wong, assistant trainer allocated to Mr Moore’s stable, Dr P Robinson, Veterinary Surgeon allocated to Mr Moore’s stable, Dr P Curl, Executive Manager, Veterinary Regulation, and Dr E N M Ho, Deputy Head of Racing Laboratory. The Stewards received written authorization from Mr W Y Cheung, managing part-owner of MIDNIGHT RATTLER and who was unable to attend today’s hearing for Mr Moore to represent the interests of the owners of MIDNIGHT RATTLER.
The evidence before the Stewards today was that Mr Wong had mistakenly added an extra administration of equipalazone, which contains phenylbutazone, when treatments were being administered to horses trained by Mr Moore on the morning on 17 May 2016 following track work. This mistaken inclusion was accentuated by Dr Robinson’s failure to correctly ascertain whether MIDNIGHT RATTLER was to be administered an equipalazone treatment. The Stewards accepted that Dr Robinson’s attention at the relevant time was interrupted by a welfare matter involving a horse at one of the Club’s riding schools.
Mr Moore was charged with a breach of Rule of Racing 140(1) in that as the trainer of MIDNIGHT RATTLER, he did fail to ensure that the horse was free of any prohibited substance on 18 May 2016, the day it was declared to race in the Tan Shan River Handicap at Happy Valley Racecourse. Mr Moore subsequently pleaded guilty to the charge.
Whilst the Stewards accepted that Mr Moore had properly directed Mr Wong and Dr Robinson as to which horses were to be treated with equipalazone prior to the treatment rounds being commenced, they were of the opinion that there were certain management measures which were reasonably able to have been implemented which would have greatly assisted in preventing MIDNIGHT RATTLER from being administered with a prohibited substance on the day prior to racing.
In assessing penalty, the Stewards took into consideration a number of mitigating factors, including but not limited to the fact that the matter before them related to a pre-race withdrawal and that MIDNIGHT RATTLER had not raced as well as the significant involvement of Mr Wong and Dr Robinson in the horse being inadvertently treated. Having given careful consideration to all the mitigating circumstances, the Stewards believed the appropriate penalty was for Mr Moore to be fined the sum of $15,000.
Mr Wong and Dr Robinson were advised that reports outlining their involvement in this matter would be forwarded to Stables Management and Dr C M Riggs, Head of Veterinary Clinical Services, respectively for their consideration.