CHAMPION trainer David Hayes pleaded guilty to a technical breach of the Rules of Racing over the Mughal Palace positive drug test and was fined $5,000 by a Jockey Club board of inquiry yesterday.
Significantly, in the wake of yesterday's hearing and decision, rules relating to administering approved medication to Hong Kong horses could change dramatically.
Hayes cut off treatment to Mughal Palace 11 days before he was due to race, even though the Jockey Club-recommended threshold was just seven days.
In imposing sentence - and a fine which is light for a breach of Rule 53 - the panel of inquiry accepted Hayes' submission that the breach was a technical one.
The panel accepted that isoxsuprine was a drug prescribed by the Jockey Club's veterinary department and that it had been administered by Hayes in line with recommended guidelines.
Director of racing Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said: 'The guidelines relating to the administration of approved medication will be looked at. Frankly, the seven-day period should disappear. In most other jurisdictions it is entirely the responsibility of the trainer as to administering or treating horses. If there is then a positive test, it is his responsibility.
'If we scrap the seven-day threshold and a trainer wants to administer an approved medication three days before a race, then it is up to him.
'But he will be aware of what will happen if it then turns up as a positive test.' Ivan Allan's Indigenous was last night proclaimed Horse of the Year as well as lifting three of the six trophies at the inaugural Champion Awards, held at the Hong Kong Convention Centre.
The International Vase winner took the Champion Middle Distance, Champion Stayer awards then got the nod from the public, being voted Most Popular Horse of the Year.
Other awards went to Fairy King Prawn (Champion Sprinter), Oriental Express (Champion Miler) and Kingston Treasure (Champion Griffin).
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