Jockey Club ready to rule on drug cases

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 June, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 June, 1999, 12:00am

Jockey Club inquiries into the positive drug tests on the Patrick Biancone-trained Whytellyou and Mughal Palace, trained by David Hayes, will be held within 60 minutes of each other on Wednesday.

Given the complexities involved with Whytellyou, winner of the L'Or de Martell Cup, and the subject now of an official Hong Kong Police investigation, it is likely that the horse will be disqualified and further inquiries will then continue.

If that happens, the L'Or de Martell Cup will be awarded to Kowloon Pride, trained by David Hill, who will go into the record books as a three-time winner of the sponsored event run off on Grand National Night.

Whytellyou tested positive to a little-known drug mephenesen, widely regarded as a 'stopping' agent.

The case of Mughal Palace appears much more straightforward as the prohibited substance involved, isoxsuprine, is regularly used in Hong Kong under veterinary supervision.

Mughal Palace tested positive although champion trainer Hayes had discontinued using the drug 11 days before the horse ran on May 15. The Jockey Club's mandatory cut-off period is seven days.

The Mughal Palace case becomes even more interesting with reports that traces of isoxsuprine remained in the horse's urine until quite recently - and long after the race.

A double from Hayes at Happy Valley on Wednesday night has made him odds-on favourite to retain his title but French ace Biancone is not without a hope.

He is four winners behind and both trainers do stand to lose a winner with the positive drug tests.

Interestingly, Hong Kong Rules of Racing do not make disqualification mandatory in such cases - although it has been the practice to do so in the past when similar cases have arisen.

The stewards do have discretionary powers but the issue is further complicated in that the Jockey Club is now a signatory to the International Racing Conference agreement, which stipulates, in Article Six, that all drug-positive winners will be disqualified.

As there is also legal representation involved in the case of Whytellyou, it is almost certain that the inquiry will not end quickly.

The most likely outcome on Wednesday is that both horses will be disqualified although the Hayes case, on the face of it more straightforward, will be concluded.

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