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Licensed Trainer Greg Stephens Fined $5,500

Racing NSW Stewards have inquired into analyst’s findings of betamethasone in a urine sample obtained from St Anton following the gelding’s first placing in Race 4 (Maureen Kinross Memorial Class 2 Handicap, 1300m) at Moruya on 20 December 2021.

Evidence was taken from licenced trainer Greg Stephens and stable foreperson Mrs N Stephens, and evidence was obtained via teleconference from Dr Adam Cawley - Science Manager of the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory, Dr Toby Koenig - Chief Veterinarian Racing NSW, veterinarian Dr J Laing – Bungendore Veterinary Surgery and Ms L Milton – Racing NSW Swabbing Official.

The following matters were considered during the inquiry:

1) Betamethasone is a corticosteroid medication available in several forms available for veterinary and human medicine, available in topical formulations for the treatment of skin irritation and inflammation.
2) Betamethasone is also contained in the human registered product Celestone Chronodose, utilised by veterinarians and typically administered by intraarticular injection for joint conditions or arthritis.
3) On 4 December 2020 St Anton received injections into both hocks of a permitted therapeutic substance which was provided by a RNSW permitted veterinarian. The product is known to not contain betamethasone.
4) The inquiry was not able to establish how betamethasone came to be in the system of St Anton which was detected in the gelding’s urine sample obtained following its race.

Mr Greg Stephens pleaded guilty to a breach of AR240(2) of presenting St Anton at Moruya Racecourse on 20 December 2020 for the purpose of engaging in Race 4 (Maureen Kinross Memorial Class 2 Handicap, 1300m) when a prohibited substance, namely betamethasone, was detected in the urine sample taken from the gelding following the event.

Mr Stephens was fined the sum of $5000. In relation to penalty Stewards gave consideration to the following:

1) Guilty plea
2) First breach of the Rule in 7-8 years of training.
3) The low level of detection.

Mr Stephens also pleaded guilty to a charge under AR104(1) in that when visited by RNSW Stewards on 30 January 2021, the notation of a treatment contained in his stable treatment records relevant to today’s inquiry was found to be incomplete. Mr Stephens was fined the sum of $500.

Mr Stephens was advised of his right of appeal in relation to both breaches.

Stewards acting under the powers of AR240(1), disqualified St Anton from its first placing in the aforementioned event and amended the placings to:

1st - Micks New Chick
2nd - Sir Eagle
3rd - Lord Desanimaux
4th - Boom And Zoom
5th - Sucrose
6th - Loafing
7th - Foxy Free
8th - Role Play
9th - Choccy Gaf

Mr Greg Stephens was advised that in respect to the decision of Stewards to disqualify St Anton from its first placing under the provisions of AR240(1) there was an appeal right in respect to this decision.

- JD Walshe (Chief Steward, South East Region – Racing NSW)

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