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Licensed Trainer Mike Cattell Disqualified For 9 Months

Inquiry into the alleged raceday administration of medications provided by licensed trainer Mike Cattell to horses engaged to race at the Nowra race meeting conducted on Sunday, 20 September 2020.

27 October 2020

Inquiry conducted at the SERA/CRC Offices – Thoroughbred Park, ACT

Stewards Panel: J D Walshe (Chairman) and J A Dinopoulos                                             

An inquiry was opened today into a report prepared by Racing NSW Investigator Jared Rodger concerning the alleged raceday administration of medication provided by licensed trainer Mike Cattell to horses trained by him which were engaged to race at the Nowra race meeting on Sunday, 20 September 2020.

Evidence was obtained today from licensed trainer Mike Cattell, Racing NSW Investigator Jared Rodger and evidence was also obtained via teleconference from Racing NSW Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Toby Koenig.

The inquiry heard that a number of exhibits seized from Mr Cattell’s registered racing stables on Sunday, 20 September 2020 by, and during, a search conducted by Mr Rodger and Racing NSW Stipendiary Steward Tilan Lee, were subsequently forwarded to the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARF) and analysed with the following results:

  1. A340306187 - Yellow residue inside 60cc plastic syringe – Vitamin E acetate
  2. A340306189 - Yellow paste inside cup – Vitamin E acetate
  3. A340306190 - 5L plastic container labelled ‘Ranvet Potassium Plus’ - Vitamin E acetate
  4. N239741 - Yellow paste in 150mL plastic bottle (sample extracted from item 2. above and sealed in 150mL plastic bottle) – Vitamin E acetate

Mr Cattell pleaded guilty to the following charges:

Charge 1 – AR249(1)(a) – Administering Medication on Raceday

That he did without the permission of the Stewards, administer to Jenessa the medication Ranvet Potassium Plus on raceday 20 September 2020, prior to the mare being engaged to race in Race 4 (TAB Long May We Play Maiden Plate, 1600m) conducted at Nowra Racecourse on that day.

Charge 2 – AR249(1)(a) – Administering Medication on Raceday

That he did without the permission of the Stewards, administer to Alqaab the medication Ranvet Potassium Plus on raceday 20 September 2020, prior to the gelding being engaged to race in Race 5 (Pete’s Plumbing Benchmark 66 Handicap, 1600m) conducted at Nowra Racecourse on that day.

Charge 3 – AR249(1)(a) – Administering Medication on Raceday

That he did without the permission of the Stewards, administer to Justify the medication Ranvet Potassium Plus on raceday 20 September 2020, prior to the gelding being engaged to race in Race 6 (Vale Rick Worthington Benchmark 58 Handicap, 1100m) conducted at Nowra Racecourse on that day.

PENALTY

Charges 1 – 3

Under the provisions of AR283(6)(i) the minimum mandatory penalty for a breach under AR249(1) is a period of 6 months disqualification unless there is a finding that a special circumstance exists. Stewards were satisfied that special circumstances as provided for under LR108(2)(c) did not exist given the circumstances of each of the three raceday administrations committed by Mr Cattell and therefore issued a 6 month period of disqualification for each of the three charges. However, having regard to Mr Cattell’s entering of a guilty plea to each of the three charges, under the provisions of LR108(2)(a), Stewards ruled that the minimum mandatory penalty for each of the three charges be reduced to a 4½ month period of disqualification.

Further, having given consideration to the fact that each of the three breaches under AR249(1) had a commonality in relation to Mr Cattell’s conduct, in that all three horses were all administered the same medication at a time in close proximity to each other, Stewards determined that the penalties be served concurrently and issued a total penalty of 9 months disqualification to take effect immediately and to expire on 27 July 2021.

In assessing penalty, Stewards took into consideration the following:

1) Mr Cattell’s personal circumstances

2) His guilty plea

3) The general principles of deterrence

Under the provisions of AR283(7), Stewards deferred the commencement of the period of disqualification for a period of 7 days to enable Mr Cattell to make arrangements for the transfer of any horses in his care but on the condition that he must not nominate any horse for any barrier trial or race during this time.

Relevant Rules

AR 249 Administration of medication on raceday

  • Notwithstanding the provisions set out in Schedule 1, Part 2, Division 2, a person must not, without the permission of the Stewards:
  • administer; or
  • cause to be administered,

any medication to a horse at any time on raceday prior to the commencement of a race in which the horse is engaged to race. 

  • If a person breaches subrule (1), a disqualification for a period of not less than 6 months must be imposed, unless there is a finding that a special circumstance exists, in which case that penalty may be reduced.

AR 283 Penalties

(6) Where a person breaches any of the rules listed below, a disqualification for a period of not less than the period specified for that rule must be imposed unless there is a finding that a special circumstance exists, in which case that penalty may be reduced:

(i)        AR 249(1): 6 months

 LR 108  Penalties

(2) For the purposes of AR196(5), special circumstances means where:

(a) the person has pleaded guilty at an early stage and assisted the Stewards or the Board in the investigation or prosecution of a breach of the Rule(s) relating to the subject conduct;

(c) in the case of offences under AR178E, the medication in the opinion of the Stewards does not contain a prohibited substance, is of an insignificant nature and is for the welfare of the horse

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