RWWA Stewards today concluded the inquiry into a report received from the ChemCentre in Perth, that arsenic in excess of the threshold of 0.3 mg/L in urine had been detected in the post-race urine sample taken from DUST ME OFF at Ascot on 5 December 2015 after it had competed and won Race 5.
Mr Tapper was found guilty under the provisions of ARR.178 for bringing DUST ME OFF to Ascot Racecourse to compete in the above race with the prohibited substance arsenic being detected in the post-race urine sample taken from the gelding.
In finding the charge sustained, the Stewards noted that the rule in question was one of absolute and strict liability which once the presence of a prohibited substance is found, matters concerning the reasons for its presence were more relevant to penalty.
After hearing further evidence from, Dr Judith Medd RWWA Industry Veterinarian, into a study by Melbourne University faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences into the ingestion of wood shavings containing Arsenic and the elevated levels achieved which had only become recently available, the Stewards found on the balance of probabilities that is was more likely than not that the horses ingestion of the fencing as described by Mr Tapper over a sustained period of time had been the sole or major contributor to the elevated level.
There was no evidence at this time that he had administered any prohibited substances to this horse. Notwithstanding this finding, Stewards did not see that this alleviates the offence of presentation.
In view of this evidence Stewards did not impose a penalty against Mr Tapper for the breach of Rule ARR.178 as it was found that unique and unusual factors were in play in relation to the offence.
In determining to impose no penalty the Stewards reserved the right to revisit the matter of penalty in the event of new or fresh evidence materialising that would support the inquiry being re-opened to correct a material error.
Further to this DUST ME OFF has been disqualified in terms of Rule AR177 from Race 5 the G.A.Towton Cup run over 2200m on 5 December 2015 and the placings are to be amended accordingly with commensurate implications for all stakemonies.
Deputy Chief Steward Thoroughbred