Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards today continued an inquiry into reports from the QRIC Racing Science Centre (RSC) and the Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) that the prohibited substance METHAMPHETAMINE (commonly known as illicit street drug ICE) was detected in a urine sample taken from PARTY TILL DAWN at Toowoomba on 16 July.
When the inquiry commenced on 14 December, Stewards questioned trainer Ben Currie as to whether he could explain the reason that METHAMPHETAMINE was detected in the urine sample analysed by both the RSC and RASL.
Evidence was also taken from Dr Karen Caldwell the Acting Manager of Veterinary Services at the RSC and Ms Samantha Nelis the Acting Manager Analytical Services at the RSC.
The matter was adjourned on this day to allow Stewards to interview a stablehand in the employ of Mr Currie.
Today further evidence was taken from Mr Currie and stablehand Mr Luke Collins.
After considering all of the evidence the Stewards issued Mr Currie with a charge pursuant to AR 178 which states:
Subject to AR178G, when any horse that has been brought to a racecourse for the purpose of engaging in a race and a prohibited substance is detected in any sample taken from it prior to or following its running in any race, the trainer and any other person who was in charge of such horse at any relevant time may be penalised.
The specifics of the charge being that as the trainer of PARTY TILL DAWN, which was brought to Toowoomba for the purpose of engaging in a race on 16 July 2016, when a post-race urine sample taken from the mare was found to contain a prohibited substance, namely METHAMPHETAMINE.
Mr Currie pleaded not guilty and made submissions in defence of the charge which included that in the absence of evidence as to the presence of metabolites having passed through the system of PARTY TILL DAWN it was not possible for the Stewards to make satisfactory findings that there was a prohibited substance as defined by AR 178B.
After considering these submissions, Stewards were of the opinion that the absence of any metabolites, artifacts and isomers under AR 178B (3) did not preclude METHAMPHETAMINE being declared a prohibited substance. Furthermore, the Stewards were satisfied with the validity of the Two (2) certificates of analysis from NATA accredited laboratories.