US horse ruled out over drug
American challenger Falcon Flight became the second drugs casualty of the International Races when the stewards yesterday afternoon ordered his withdrawal from the feature $14 million Hong Kong Cup.
The Ben Cecil-trained four-year-old tested positive to the prohibited substance methylprednisolone - a cortico steroid often used for joint problems.
Flemington-based trainer Matthew Ellerton's Black Bean was earlier ordered out of the Hong Kong Sprint after testing positive for a prohibited decongestant.
Falcon Flight tested positive from a urine sample taken on December 8 as well as to samples taken on Thursday and Friday morning. He was positive again to another sample taken on Saturday and again from a sample taken yesterday morning.
This was real 11th-hour stuff as it wasn't until 2pm yesterday, just three hours before the Mile was due to jump, that the final positive was confirmed by the Hong Kong Jockey Club's senior chemist Terrence Wan.
Chief stipendiary steward John Schreck said: 'Mr Cecil, trainer of Falcon Flight, and Mr [Gary] Tanaka, owner of the horse . . . were advised of the analyst's finding and they were informed by the stewards that in accordance with Rule 14 (v) (b), the horse would be withdrawn.'
The race meeting stewards adjourned the case to today.