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Outcome Of Inquiry - Oriental Runner

The Stewards today inquired into the detection by the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) and Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) of the prohibited substances methylamphetamine and its metabolites amphetamine and 4-hydroxymethylamphetamine in a post-race urine sample taken from the Garry Neale trained Oriental Runner, following the gelding being placed first in Race 6 – Benchmark 68 Handicap conducted at Kembla Grange of 27 January 2018.

Evidence today was taken from licensed trainer Mr Garry Neale, stablehands Mr Joshua Neale and Mr Robert Gale, owners of Oriental Runner Mr Merwan Salameh and Mr George Anastaspoulos, Racing NSW Senior Official Veterinarian Dr Craig Suann and ARFL Science Manager Dr Adam Cawley.

The following matters were established during today’s Inquiry

  1. On 14 February 2018, Racing NSW Stewards were advised of an irregularity to methylamphetamine in respect to the post–race urine sample taken from Oriental Runner.
  2. At 6am on Thursday 15 February 2018, Racing NSW Stewards conducted an unannounced stable inspection of Mr Neale’s stables at Warwick Farm racecourse, at which time Mr Neale was informed of the sample irregularity. During the inspection, Racing NSW Stewards obtained the following material;
  1. Details of staff working at the stable.
  2. Veterinary records for Oriental Runner;
  3. Treatment records from Mr Neale for the relevant period.
    1. On the morning of 15 February 2018, a urine sample was taken from Oriental Runner. This sample tested negative for methylamphetamine or its metabolites. Subsequent samples taken from the gelding at race meetings on 21 February 2018 and 7 March 2018 have also returned negative results.
    2. Acting under the provisions of AR8(jj) and AR8(jjj) three urine samples were taken from employees of Mr Neale as well as a sample being taken from Mr Neale.
    3. On 28 February 2018 the ARFL reported the presence of banned substances in the following two samples.
      1. Robert Gale – amphetamine and methylamphetamine (just below cut-off set by AR81B).
      2. Joshua Neale – ketamine and norketamine.
    4. On 28 February 2018 further samples were obtained from Mr Gale and Mr Joshua Neale. The ARFL reported the following findings.
      1. Robert Gale – amphetamine and methylamphetamine (just below cut-off set by AR81B taking into account the measurement of uncertainty).
      2. Joshua Neale – ketamine and norketamine.
    5. Mr Gale made admissions to the inquiry of having taken methamphetamine in the lead up to 27 January 2018, including the night before, by ingesting a small amount orally.
    6. Mr Gale was the regular trackwork rider for Oriental Runner and on the morning of 27 January 2018 rode the gelding in light trackwork. This included fitting and removing the bridle and saddle.
    7. A urine sample taken from the swab official returned a negative finding to all banned substances.
    8. The Stewards found the most likely cause of finding of methylamphetamine in the sample taken from Oriental Runner was due to contamination from Mr Gale, who made an admission of taking methylamphetamine on 26 January 2018.

Mr Garry Neale

Mr Neale pleaded guilty to a charge under AR178 of having presented Oriental Runner to race at Kembla Grange of 27 January 2018 when a post-race urine sample taken from the gelding was found upon analysis to contain methylamphetamine and its metabolites.

In assessing penalty Stewards, amongst other factors, took into consideration the following mitigating factors:

  1. Precedent penalties for like substances;
  2. Mr Neale’s unblemished record;
  3. Mr Neale’s guilty plea;
  4. Mr Neale’s co-operation with the Stewards’ investigation and Inquiry.
  5. Low level of methylamphetamine found in sample obtained from Oriental Runner.
  6. Stewards finding that the most likely cause of finding was due to contamination from Mr Gale, who admitted taking methylamphetamine on 26 January 2018.

However, Stewards found that Mr Neale should have had better oversight of his staff and in particular the activities of Mr Gale, who had been a long term employee. Mr Neale was fined the sum of $5,000. Stewards advise that this penalty is not to been seen as a precedent in circumstances where administration of a substance is established or a high level of negligence on behalf of the trainer.

Mr Robert Gale

Mr Gale pleaded guilty to a charge of improper conduct under AR175(q) in that on or around 26 January 2018, prior to Oriental Runner running at the Kembla Grange race meeting on Saturday 27 January 2018, he knowingly ingesting the banned substance methylamphetamine, which in all likelihood resulted in a sample taken from Oriental Runner, a horse he handled on the morning of 27 January 2018, returning a positive finding to the prohibited substance methylamphetamine.

Mr Gale was disqualified for a period of 9 months to commence on 13 March 2018 the day Mr Gale was stood down from riding and the expire on 13 December 2018 on which day he may re-apply for his licence. Mr Gale was advised that prior to re-applying for his licence he would be required to complete a satisfactory period of counselling (5 sessions) and he must provide a sample free from any substances banned by AR81B.

Mr Joshua Neale

Mr Neale pleaded guilty to a charge under LR82B(1)(a) of having provided a sample of his urine on the mornings of 15 February 2018 and 28 February 2018 that was found upon analysis to contain the banned substances ketamine and norketamine. Mr Neale was suspended for a period of 9 months to commence on 28 February 2018 the day he was stood down and to expire on 28 November 2018 on which day he may resume duties. Mr Neale was advised that should he complete a satisfactory period of counselling (5 sessions) the final 3 months of the penalty would be stayed, thus allowing Mr Neale to recommence his duties on 28 August 2018. Mr Neale was advised that prior to resuming he must, in accordance with the provisions of LR82B(3) he must provide a sample free from any substances banned by AR81B.

Oriental Runner

Acting under the provisions of AR177 Oriental Runner was disqualified from Race 6 conducted at Kembla Grange on 27 January 2018 and the placings amended to

1 - Gaytime Girl

2 - Babe In Boots

3 - Walshie

4 - Brad The Lad

5 - Figtree

6 - Nagging

Mr Garry Neale, Mr Joshua Neale, Mr Gale and the connections of Oriental Runner were advised of their rights of appeal.

Relevant Rules

AR 177.  Subject to AR 177C, any horse that has been brought to a racecourse and a prohibited substance is detected in any sample taken from it prior to or following its running in any race must be disqualified from any race in which it started on that day.  

AR178 - Subject to AR 178G, when any horse that has been brought to a racecourse for the purpose of engaging in a race and a prohibited substance is detected in any sample taken from it prior to or following its running in any race, the trainer and any other person who was in charge of such horse at any relevant time may be penalised.

AR 175.  The Principal Racing Authority (or the Stewards exercising powers delegated to them) may penalise;

 

(q) Any person who in their opinion is guilty of any misconduct, improper conduct or unseemly behaviour.

 

LR 82B (1) Any person employed by or assisting a trainer in the training, care or superintendence of a racehorse upon any racecourse, training centre or registered stable commits an offence and may be penalised if

 

(a) a sample taken from him/her is found upon analysis to contain the presence of a substance banned by AR81B

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