Cobalt Problem Makes Its Way to New Zealand

Trainers in New Zealand have not been immune to the disease of running horses that have subsequently been shown to have had elevated levels of cobalt in their systems beyond the 200 micrograms per litre of urine threshold that Australian racing imposes.

New Zealand trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott received a hefty fine of $50,000 NZD, along with another $10,500 NZD for the costs incurred by the Judicial Control Authority (JCA) for the hearing.

Two of the pair’s winning runners, Suffire and Quintastics tested at 309 and 640 mcgs., respectively. A third horse, Sound Proposition had a cobalt reading of 541 after running third in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby.

O’Sullivan and Scott had a much more creative explanation for the failed tests than did some of their Australian counterparts. The horses were apparently permitted to drink from a water trough used by dairy cattle that had been treated with cobalt by the operation’s dairy manager as an aid to the cattle’s reproductive ability. Cow Viagra, if you will.

The Racing Integrity Unit of the JCA was dubious of the explanation, but apparently, the dairy manager and the cows could not be interviewed/tested, because they are not subject to the rules of racing.

If, however, there were to be a calf population explosion…

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