Vets to report to RA on cobalt science

By: Tuesday 17 September 201

The Racing Australia board has asked its veterinary advisory committee to report back on the science of cobalt following a letter from the Australian Trainers Association.

The ATA has asked RA to review rules in light of an increasing number of scientific opinions that cobalt levels can be inadvertently boosted by legally sourced and administered substances.

It has also raised questions about the effectiveness of cobalt improving performance in racehorses and whether fines, rather than disqualifications, were more appropriate penalties.

RA chairman Greg Nichols said the board at its recent meeting had asked the veterinary committee to report back at their next meeting in November.

"You don't make decisions unless you've accumulated all the facts and we've gone to the experts to come back to us," Nichols told RSN927.

"We've told the ATA that that's our preferred course of action and then we'll make a determination in November."

Australia has a threshold of 100mcg/L of cobalt, an internationally recognised standard.

Before its next meeting RA hopes to also have a clearer picture regarding Regumate which has divided the states.

Regumate, which has been fond to produce positive results to traces of steroids, controls the cycles of mares with Racing NSW allowing for "non-consequential" amounts of trendione and trenbolone.

Nichols said the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities was due to meet in France next month.

He said IFHA was awaiting a study from France Galop and data from other jurisdictions on whether Regumate should be a banned substance.

"I'm hopeful for a determination out of that meeting," Nichols said.

"Then we come back for our November meeting and formulate an Australian position, one that is applicable and enforceable Australia-wide and not subject to local rules."