Leading trainer to face stewards in another blow for...: brisbanetimes.com.au 2/14/12
Leading trainer to face stewards in another blow for besieged sport
By Chris Roots
THE scandal-racked harness racing industry has suffered another blow with leading trainer Luke McCarthy having to face stewards following a positive swab to a steroid taken from Mach Wiper after his win in the Newcastle Cup on December 9.
Rising star Mach Wiper returned a positive result to boldenone, which showed up at a level greater than 15 micrograms per litre in a urine sample. The result has McCarthy perplexed.
''I understand it is a long-lasting steroid, which taken four months to get out of their systems,'' McCarthy said. ''He was swabbed on three occasions leading into Newcastle and again after it when he won the Goulburn Cup, and they are all clear.
''It doesn't make sense. I'm disappointed and shocked by the [positive] result because I pride myself on cleaning racing. I will be fighting this all the way to clear my name.''
Mach Wiper had risen through the grades during his spring preparation, running second in the Treuer Memorial, a grand circuit race, at his the start before the Newcastle Cup.
The positive swab is another blow for a sport still reeling from a scandal in which stewards are alleged to have taken bribes not to drug test horses.
Those allegations will again come to the fore when former steward Paul O'Toole, stood-down drivers Greg Bennett and Cameron Fitzpatrick and stood-down trainer Michael Russo face court on Friday.
O'Toole faces charges of receiving money not to test horses, while Bennett, Russo and Fitzpatrick face charges of giving and offering bribes.
Boldenone is a steroid that builds muscle. It works best in male horses, and in harness racing is only illegal in entires. It was at the centre of a controversial thoroughbreds case involving Gai Waterhouse and filly Perfectly Poised in 2008.
She was fined but the case took more than a year to be heard as Waterhouse sent hair samples to the US to try to prove her innocence.
McCarthy is likely to argue there was a fault in the testing procedure because the drug had not been detected in a number of other swabs.
The Herald believes there is another positive test from a high-profile trainer to the same drug from the same meeting.
McCarthy is proud of what he has achieved since setting up a his stable in NSW last year. He has dominated the sport since the steward scandal broke last August. However he realises the swab could taint his name.
''I have spent a lot of money setting up the best training facility for harness horses in Sydney, and I would not put it at risk,'' McCarthy said.
He has got outstanding results from his Cobbitty property this season, and is the country's leading trainer with 130 winners. His horses have earned more than $1.5 million, and he is due to have Mr Feelgood in the showpiece InterDominion, starting Friday in Perth.
Mr Feelgood came up with the awkward draw of gate eight of nine in the second heat on the opening night of the InterDominion, while the favourite fared well. Series favourite Im Themightyquinn drew barrier four in the final heat, Smoken Up gate seven in the third, while Auckland Reactor has three in the opening heat.