QUEENSLAND’S cobalt scandal has deepened with five new irregularities to the banned drug being recorded.
The Gold Coast Bulletin can reveal the five irregularities — two from thoroughbreds and three from harness racing — were recorded in the past few months, well after the 200 microgram per litre of urine cobalt threshold for both codes had been introduced.
These irregularities are different from the eight cobalt positive tests already revealed by RQ this year.
The B-samples from the new cases have been sent away interstate for further testing this week.
The new irregularities were found after thoroughbred trainers Jamie McConachy and Len Treloar and harness trainers Shawn Grimsey, Trevor Lambourn and Ken Belford all had horses return positives to cobalt last year.
Lambourn was disqualified for three years over positive cobalt tests to two horses, while Belford was slapped with an 18-month ban relating to his one cobalt charge on Thursday.
Gold Coast-based Grimsey, whose horses returned two positive cobalt tests, was also found guilty when his case was heard at RQ headquarters at Deagon on Thursday but stewards will consider his submissions before handing down their penalty.
Atherton thoroughbred trainer Glen Baker was also disqualified for two years last month after his horse French Lesson returned a cobalt positive sample following victory in a race at Doomben on January 31.
Like the five new cases, Baker’s case came after the national thoroughbred cobalt threshold (200) was introduced on January 1 this year. The national harness cobalt threshold, also set at 200, was introduced on October 14 last year.
The latest news is the last thing Racing Queensland needs after all RQ boards were abolished and its members sacked last month following the live-baiting scandal.
Departing RQ chief executive Darren Condon is also expected to be officially sacked this week, while Wade Birch, RQ’s general manager of stewards and integrity operations, has also been stood down and asked to show cause.