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QRIC drops cobalt appeals

The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) has decided not to continue with appeals against the decisions in two cases involving alleged cobalt level breaches.

The matters were listed before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

QRIC was appealing the decision to clear trainers Lyn Paton and Rochelle Smith who were charged with presenting their horses to race with cobalt levels in excess of the allowed threshold.

QRIC Commissioner Ross Barnett said the cases occurred before the establishment of the commission in July last year and were originally determined by the former Racing Disciplinary Board and appealed by Racing Queensland (RQ).

“RQ didn’t agree with the board’s decision to clear the trainers and appealed, and while the appeal was waiting to be heard it subsequently became QRIC’s responsibility,” Barnett said.

“In the cases dating back to 2015, positive cobalt tests were found in the race day samples of horses brought to race by Smith and Paton.”

“Both trainers have had a stay throughout the proceedings and have been able to continue racing.

“A fresh legal review of both matters has led to the commission deciding it was not in the public interest to continue with the appeal and both Racing Disciplinary Board decisions will stand.”

Barnett said while the two cobalt matters had been withdrawn, the decision had no impact on others currently before QCAT, and all future cases would be considered on their merits.

“This decision to withdraw has been taken on consideration of circumstances particular to these two cases and is not as a result of recent decisions in other jurisdictions clearing trainers accused of exceeding cobalt levels,” he said.

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