Decision close on future of Wong's Total Effect

HONGKONG trainer Alex Wong Siu-tan should know the fate of his expensively-bred colt, Total Effect, in the next couple of days. Wong has been unwittingly caught in the middle of a scandal which has rocked the Australian turf scene and led to his trainer, Graeme Rogerson, receiving a heavy fine and the chief stipendiary steward asking for Total Effect to be banned from racing.

Rogerson was fined for misleading the stewards after his Carry On Winning landed a substantial betting plunge in the race in which Wong's Total Effect, a son of the brilliant Breeders' Cup winner Last Tycoon, started favourite but was subsequently found to be in no fit state to race. The son of Last Tycoon had been operated on six weeks earlier and raced with no feeling in his near-fore hoof.

Total Effect was an uneasy odds-on favourite for the race with his stablemate, Carry On Winning, coming in for heavy betting support to land an old-fashioned coup with considerable ease.

Wong, who has threatened to sue if his colt is banned, said: ''I am sending my top man Down Under to an Australian Jockey Club hearing so that we can get this thing cleared up once and for all.

''Brent Gilovic, the manager of the High View Stud in New Zealand, will represent me and tell them that this operation is quite commonplace. ''I have even checked at this end with such respected professionals as Neville Begg and he says the same thing. ''The operation was also conducted by one of the AJC's own vets and there are other examples of horses racing with no feeling in a hoof.'' Rogerson maintained throughout the inquiry, in which he was originally banned, that Total Effect needed the operation.