Trainers are advised of the introduction of the following new Australian Rule of Racing which takes effect from 1 January 2015:
AR.178C (1) The following prohibited substances when present at or below the concentrations respectively set out are excepted from the provisions of AR.178B and AR.178H:-
“(l) Cobalt at a mass concentration of 200 micrograms per litre in urine.”
Cobalt is a naturally occurring trace element which may normally be present in horses at very low levels as a result of the ingestion of feedstuffs that contain it in trace amounts. Cobalt is also present in the structure of vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin). However, it is known that excessive amounts of cobalt have an effect on the blood system (AR.178B(1)) and that it is a hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1 stabiliser (AR.177B(2)(l)) and a haematopoietic agent (AR.178B(2)). Accordingly, it is a prohibited substance pursuant to AR.178B(1), AR.177B(2)(l) and AR.178B(2) when occurring at levels above those naturally occurring or as a result of routine nutritional sources.
A threshold level has been introduced into the Rules of Racing to recognise that cobalt can be present at very low levels when naturally occurring or as a result of routine nutritional sources.
This threshold has been determined following a national survey of the racing horse population which measured cobalt levels in normal racehorses during training and racing.
The threshold has been set at a level to allow for normal levels of cobalt supplementation through routine nutritional sources. However, trainers are advised that the administration, particularly by injection and on multiple occasions, of certain registered vitamin supplements 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 these supplements close to racing.
Examples of injectable vitamin supplements that contain cobalt and/or vitamin B12 include, but are not limited to, V.A.M. injection, Hemo-15 and Hemoplex.