Cobalt Science is Inexact Science is the Latest Theory

If recent reports were any indication, it would appear as though the threshold for the level of cobalt in a thoroughbred’s blood stream could be a moving target.

Racing Victoria’s chief veterinarian, Brian Stewart, the driving force behind excess cobalt bans that have had impacts on more than a few prominent trainers, has resigned from his position and intends to be working in Hong Kong following the spring carnival.

Racing Victoria’s Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is interested in talking with Stewart about the performance enhancing properties of cobalt and how the threshold that snared trainers Danny O’Brien, Mark Kavanagh and Peter Moody.

At issue is Stewart’s opinion that the administration of the equine supplement VAM, which contains low levels of cobalt, would not put a horse above the 100 micrograms per litre of urine, even if given on race day. Why then, VCAT would like to know, was the level set at the generous level of 200 micrograms?

The science upon which Stewart seems to have relied, which was du jour in 2014 when the regulations were put in place, apparently is now considered; excuse the pun, “cloudy.”

The older amongst us, who remember when the world was flat and chicken eggs posed a potentially legal health threat, would like a ruling that provides some “clarity.”

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