RWWA Stewards yesterday concluded an inquiry into a report received from the ChemCentre in Perth, that arsenic in excess of the threshold value being 0.3 mg/L in urine, had been detected in the post-race urine sample taken from DISCO METAL after it won Race 1 at Ascot on 3 December 2016.

This finding had been verified by the Racing Analytical Services Limited Laboratory (RASL) in Victoria.

Evidence was taken from RWWA Veterinarian Dr J Medd, RWWA Investigator Mr G Johnson, ChemCentre Analyst Ms M Raghvani and the trainer of DISCO METAL Mrs K Grantham.
Mrs Grantham pleaded guilty under the provisions of ARR.178 for bringing DISCO METAL to race in the above event with the prohibited substance arsenic being detected in the post-race urine sample taken from the mare.

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 evidence from, Dr Judith Medd RWWA Industry Veterinarian, including reference to a study by Melbourne University faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences examining the ingestion of wood shavings containing Arsenic and the elevated levels achieved, the Stewards could not exclude to the requisite standard that the level of arsenic detected was not the result of DISCO METAL consuming the fencing in its paddock. Analysis of the fencing confirmed the presence of arsenic consistent with treated timber with visual inspection by the RWWA Investigator, supported by photographic evidence, also confirming signs of significant and fresh damage to the wood consistent with chewing. Given the reported level of 0.44mg/L, it could not safely be excluded on the evidence before the panel that such result was not the outcome of the horse consuming the fencing over the period of time it was in that paddock.

There was no other evidence before the inquiry in relation to administration of products containing arsenic. Under the circumstances the Stewards determined to not impose a penalty against Mrs Grantham for the breach of ARR178 at this time.

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.

Acting under the provisions of AR177, DISCO METAL was disqualified from the race in question and the Stewards directed that the placing’s be amended accordingly with commensurate implications for all stake money.

It is recommended to all trainer’s to give consideration to taking appropriate measures in the event their horses are seen to be chewing fences constructed with arsenic treated timbers, to avoid potential inquiries and disqualification of horses from races.

Denis Borovica
General Manager Racing Integrity