The allegation made during the Sam Kavanagh inquiry week that a Melbourne Cup winner won the race with cobalt and EPO in its system has been rejected by Racing Victoria.
Harness racing participant John Camilleri admitted to Racing NSW stewards during the inquiry on Wednesday he was “big noting” when he sent a text message stating he knew “a horse that won the Melbourne Cup on cobalt and EPO”.
Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey issued a statement on Thursday rejecting the claim.
“Racing Victoria has worked closely with Racing New South Wales during the course of our parallel investigations into elevated cobalt levels and is not aware of any evidence to substantiate any claim that a Melbourne Cup winner was assisted by EPO and elevated Cobalt levels,” Bailey said.
“We are of the view that the text message sent by John Camilleri lacks substance, which Mr Camilleri himself admitted during the course of the yesterday’s hearing before Racing New South Wales Stewards.
“The past six Melbourne Cup winners, commencing with Shocking in 2009, have been all subjected to EPO testing in the lead-up to and/or immediately after their Cup victories and none have returned a positive swab.
“Furthermore, Racing Victoria was the first thoroughbred racing jurisdiction to introduce a threshold rule for cobalt in April 2014 and the only Melbourne Cup winner since the rule was introduced, Protectionist, returned a clear sample.”
Bailey went on to say there was no intention from Racing Victoria to test frozen swab samples prior to April 2014 for excess levels of cobalt as there was no rule in place to define a permitted threshold.