Inexact Science Behind Cobalt Comes to Light

Peter Moody, the de factor icon of long-term thoroughbred training success, recently reacted quite negatively to the discovery that Racing Victoria head veterinarian Dr. Brian Stewart admitted that the handling of the cobalt rule put into force in August of 2014 was less than transparent.

Stewart now says that not telling trainers that certain vitamins and minerals could push horses over the cobalt limit was a mistake. VAM was the vitamin supplement responsible for several bans handed down to trainers. In Moody’s case, he believed that the hoof powder Availa was the culprit in the detection of cobalt in excess of the limit being discovered in his horse Lidari.

In response to Stewart’s revelation, the typically succinct Moody tweeted, “bit late for some.”

Moody was banned for 12 months for the cobalt charge, and even though the penalty was reduced to six months, Moody abandoned training rather than face the appeals process gauntlet.

In an obvious admission that Racing Victoria had handled the institution of the cobalt rule poorly, they took steps to offer Moody an extension of his right to appeal the suspension.

Under cross-examination by the attorney for Flemington trainers Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh, two others banned for violating the cobalt limits, Stewart admitted that the science on cobalt was not necessarily flawless and that he knew at the time the rule was put in force that even proper administration of VAM according to the manufacturer’s instructions could cause a horse to exceed the cobalt limits.

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