Cobalt Trainers Hope Technicality Can Overturn Bans

Even the horses need good attorneys, or so it would seem, as the latest round of appeals concerning trainers suspended for positive cobalt tests gets underway.

Danny O’Brien, Mark Kavanagh, Lee Hope and Shannon Hope have received penalties from the RAD Board, but they get to keep on racing whilst awaiting their opportunity to launch yet another round of appeals.

They have abandoned the “I didn’t know the vitamins I gave my horse were tainted with banned substances” defense and are now pinning their hopes of the technicality, a valid one perhaps, that the two labs that detected the elevated cobalt levels in the trainers’ horses were not certified to perform the test for the substance.

The tests that resulted in the penalties were conducted in 2014 by Racing Victoria Analytical Services Ltd., yet the facility did not receive the okay for the testing method used until June of 2015.

The outcome is that the samples that had tested positive before will now be retested.

The trainers could be taking a page from the playbook of NFL quarterback Tom Brady, who has successfully fended off his four-game ban for his role in “Deflategate,” where assistants for the Patriots deliberately substituted game balls that were underinflated to satisfy Brady’s preference for softer balls. Brady’s strategy seems to be that of delaying his ban until after he has retired, a strategy that worked perfectly last season.

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