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Licensed Trainer Luke Berger Fined $4000

Racing NSW Stewards have conducted an inquiry into the analyst's finding of flunixin in a pre-race blood sample taken from Oh Why prior to the gelding competing in Race 6 (Country Cup, 1600m) at Scone Racecourse on Friday, 15 May 2020.

Evidence, via video link, was taken from licensed trainer Luke Berger, the trainer of Oh Why, who also represented the interests of the owners of Oh Why, Racing NSW Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Toby Koenig and ARFL Official Analyst, Dr A Cawley, via teleconference.

Mr Berger pleaded guilty of a charge under AR245(1)(a) of having administered flunixin to Oh Why, which was detected in a blood sample taken from the gelding prior to it competing in the Country Cup, 1600m at Scone Racecourse on Friday, 15 July 2020.

In considering all the circumstances when assessing penalty, including the fact that Mr Berger administered the prohibited substance to Oh Why and evidence established during inquiry, that could have contributed to this finding, it was determined that the appropriate penalty for this particular offence to be a fine of $5000.

However, mitigation was applied to acknowledge Mr Berger’s guilty plea, his forthright evidence, the low level of the substance at detection and that treatment records maintained by Mr Berger were kept in accordance with the Rules, the penalty was subsequently amended to a fine of $4000.

Mr Berger was advised of his right of appeal.

Acting under the provisions of AR204(1), Oh Why was disqualified from its last placing in Race 6 (Country Cup, 1600m) at Scone Racecourse on 15 May 2020.

Relevant Rules
AR245(1)(a) – A person must not administer a prohibited substance on Prohibited List A and / or Prohibited List B to a horse that is detected in a sample taken from the horse prior to or following the running or a race.
AR240(1) – Subject to sub rule (3), if a horse is brought to a racecourse and a prohibited substance on Prohibited List A and / or Prohibited List B is detected in a sample taken from the horse prior to or following its running in any race, the horse must be disqualified from any race in which it started on that day.

- Shane Cullen (Chief Steward H&NWRA)

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