Cocaine trace 'does not break rules'
A recent winner at Sha Tin had a banned substance in its system but no action will be taken as Jockey Club officials believe no rule has been broken.
The South China Morning Post believes the horse involved to be the John Moore-trained Ming Hoi Treasure and the banned substance to be cocaine.
The matter is now in the hands of the security department and the trainer has been informed so he can take whatever measures he deems fit to improve stable routine.
Chief steward Kim Kelly yesterday acknowledged the presence of 'a substance' uncovered in post-race tests by the club's analyst, but would neither name the substance or horse involved as it did not constitute a positive drug test. 'A substance has been detected, in an extremely low level, from a horse which raced recently,' Kelly said.
'The sample detected was of such a low level that there were no metabolites found and the analyst has formed the view that the presence of the substance could have had no influence on performance.
'Furthermore, the analyst says the evidence is overwhelming that the level detected would very likely be due to inadvertent exposure of the horse to the substance close to the race.'
Kelly said he had spoken to the trainer of the horse as a courtesy.
'Our security department has been informed so the matter can be given whatever attention they feel it warrants, and the trainer has been informed as a courtesy so he can take whatever measures necessary in terms of stable routine,' Kelly said.
'That may mean stable workers washing their hands more frequently, wearing gloves, whatever he believes is appropriate to avert anything similar occurring in the future.'
Kelly said all swabs taken from horses up to and including April 18 had been cleared without any positive tests or irregularities and was at pains to insist no rule had been broken. 'Not only was there no transgression of the rules, but the level detected in the sample fell a long way short of the level that would be regarded as a positive finding,' he said.
Moore said yesterday he had no comment on whether Ming Hoi Treasure was the horse involved and said he had not been asked to attend any inquiry. Ming Hoi Treasure has won his past two starts, at Sha Tin on March 28 and again on April 10.
Previously, narcotic drugs had been discovered in the David Hill-trained stayer Cupid, which was found to have had morphine, codeine and traces of heroin in his system after a race at Happy Valley in March 2003 and the Andreas Schutz-trained Sydney Owner, which tested positive after a race in October 2006 for aminorex, associated with the recreational drug Ice.
In each of those cases, the presence of the drug was sufficient to be described as a positive, but after exhaustive six-month inquiries stewards laid no charges and left the cases as open findings to be revisited if further evidence came to light.