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Challenge to cobalt rules to resume soon

Another important challenge to the Australian Racing rules involving cobalt will continue in Queensland early next month.

Gold Coast trainer Kelly Doughty is fighting a conviction and 12 months disqualification after stewards found her guilty of presenting Blue Book to race with a cobalt level above the allowed threshold at Doomben in November 2017.

Doughty, who is training on a stay, was found not guilty of the more serious offence of administering excessive cobalt.

She has been adamant that she has done nothing wrong but failed in an internal review of the stewards’ decision late last year.

At the internal review Doughty called extensive evidence to support her case and in particular that inorganic compared with organic cobalt levels should be determined as the presence of organic compounds was not a prohibited substance.

Doughty has taken her case to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an appeal.

“We have had directions hearings and the next step is set down for early next month,” Doughty said.

“It has been stressful but I am determined to clear my name.”

She is one of more than 100 thoroughbred trainers to be charged over cobalt irregularities since the rule was introduced in 2015.

Since Doughty’s internal review there have been growing numbers of experts questioning the cobalt rules and how they are administered.

In the latest move, the Australian Trainers Association has asked Racing Australia 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.

The ATA has also raised questions about the effectiveness of cobalt in improving performance in racehorses and whether fines were a more appropriate penalty.

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