RWWA Stewards today conducted an inquiry into a report received from the ChemCentre in Perth, that arsenic in excess of the threshold value being 0.30 ug/ml in urine, had been detected in the post race urine sample taken from OUR ZAK WHITBY after it won Race 6 at Pinjarra on 4 September 2017.
This finding had been verified by the Racing Analytical Services Ltd Laboratory (RASL) in Victoria.
Evidence was taken from RWWA Veterinarian Dr. J Medd, RWWA Investigator Mr G. Johnson, ChemCentre Analyst Ms K. Wilson and the trainer of OUR ZAK WHITBY, Dr Edwin Dewar.
Dr Dewar pleaded guilty under the provisions of Rule 190 (1), (2) and (4) for presenting OUR ZAK WHITBY to race in the above event with the prohibited substance arsenic being detected in the post race urine sample taken from the horse.
In finding the charge sustained, the Stewards noted that the rule in question was one of absolute liability which once the presence of a prohibited substance is found, matters concerning the reasons for its presence were more relevant to penalty.
After hearing evidence from Dr Judith Medd RWWA Industry Veterinarian, including reference to a study by Melbourne University faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences examining the ingestion of wood shavings containing Arsenic and the elevated levels achieved, the Stewards could not exclude to the requisite standard that the level of arsenic detected was not the result of OUR ZAK WHITBY consuming the fencing in its paddock.
Inspection by RWWA Investigator, supported by photographic evidence also confirmed signs of significant and fresh damage to the wood consistent with chewing. Given the reported level of 0.37ug/ml, it could not safely be excluded on the evidence before the panel that such result was not the outcome of the horse consuming the fencing over the period of time it was in that paddock.
There was no other evidence before the inquiry in relation to administration of products containing arsenic. Under the circumstances the Stewards determined to not impose a penalty against Dr Dewar for the breach of Rule 190 at this time.
Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, OUR ZAK WHITBY was disqualified from the race in question and the Stewards directed that the placings be amended accordingly with commensurate implications for all stake money.
It is recommended to all trainers to give consideration to taking appropriate measures in the event their horses are seen to be chewing fences constructed with arsenic treated timbers, to avoid potential inquiries and disqualification of horses from races.
Barbara Scott – Chief Steward Harness
Ph: 9445 5176