To Encourage Thoroughbreds to Run Faster Just Ask Politely

Since we are not equine physiology experts, we cannot provide any sort of clarity as to what possible advantage giving thoroughbred flats gallopers baking soda would supply.

Sodium bicarbonate does make some of our baked goods rise nicely, so maybe it was thought that the common leavening agent would make horses rise to the occasion and run faster during races.

We ourselves are blessed with an efficient digestive system, so we have never had to resort to purchasing Alka Seltzer at Chemist Warehouse in order to obtain relief from acidy stomachs. We suspect that if we used it in an attempt to write better or faster, we would find disappointing results. Not even cobalt could help us.

So, when Victoria Racing and Appeals and Disciplinary Board Chairman Judge John Bowman declared that the eight persons recently found guilty of giving horses sodium bicarbonate and tripart paste to top-up horses on race days represented, “Probably the biggest scandal and the most widespread investigation in the history of Australian racing,” on Tuesday, or reaction was more one of bemusement than anything else.

Bowman is entitled to his opinion, but ours is that this is nothing compared to the Fine Cotton Affair, in terms of clumsiness, at least.

Caught in the investigation were multiple Group 1-winning trainer and float driver Greg Nelligan. Those two were considered the ringleaders, leading us to think that lorry drivers have too much thinking time on the haul between racetracks.

Also involved in the scheme were trainers Liam Birchley, Stuart Webb, Tony Vasil and Trent Pennuto and a couple of stable employees, Denise Nelligan and Daniel Garland.

“This was a long running, systematic conspiracy to try and obtain an unfair advantage in well over a hundred races over seven years,” Bowman said. “The Aquanita case represents one of the darkest and longest chapters in the history of Australian turf.

The Disciplinary Board will hear submissions on potential penalties, which could include disqualification and warning off.

Now, you will have to excuse us, as we need to check the medicine chest for something to prevent us doing further injury to our ribs from laughing so hard.

We believe there is a 15-year-old box of Arm & Hammer in there.

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