Hayes faces inquiry on two breaches of the rules after Mughal Palace
Angry owner Syed Pervez Hussain is considering legal action following a decision taken by the Hong Kong Jockey Club yesterday to disqualify Mughal Palace after a positive dope test.
Deeply upset trainer David Hayes, who is being charged under two Rules of Racing as a result of the positive test to isoxsuprine, refused immediate comment, but sources close to the champion trainer said he was bitterly disappointed by decisions taken yesterday by a specially convened Jockey Club board of inquiry.
The inquiry into Hayes' part in the highly controversial affair has been adjourned to a later date.
Hussain has arranged a meeting with his barrister today to determine which course of legal action he will take.
'This is simply a clear case of injustice - nothing more and nothing less. I will pursue this with the utmost determination but I cannot say what the exact course will be until I consult my barrister,' he said.
'It may be a case of suing the Jockey Club and their vets or one or the other. I will be suing for the recovery of the prizemoney - and more.
'The 'more' will be the stress this has caused me and the time that I have been forced to spend on it all.' As expected, a later inquiry disqualified L'Or de Martell Cup winner Whytellyou, trained by Patrick Biancone. The horse tested positive to the little-known drug mephenesin. That race now goes to the David Hill-trained Kowloon Pride, who will go into the record books as a three-time winner of the high-profile event.
As the Whytellyou case, and another involving an anabolic steroid positive test on griffin Rickfield, are the subject of ongoing Hong Kong Police criminal inquiries, there was no further Jockey Club announcement about any inquiry involving French trainer Biancone.
Leading Asian owner-breeder Hussain, who has over 200 horses in his native Pakistan, was pulling no punches.
'It is absolutely wrong that they can do this. It was not anything that was done by my trainer or myself.
'Their vets said what was right and it ended up being wrong,' said Hussain, who has raced horses in Australia, Hong Kong, England and Macau.
'The records clearly show that my trainer discontinued treatment with the medication 11 days before the race and the Jockey Club say that the treatment should be stopped just seven days before the race.' Significantly, the owner was able to point out that cut-off periods for isoxsuprine in other racing jurisdictions often far exceed the seven days that were deemed - and still are - permissible in Hong Kong. The Macau Jockey Club has a threshold of 21 days and in Australia it is a fortnight.
Apart from Pakistan, where he has won the Derby twice, Hussain also has breeding interests in Ireland.
He has raced, in total, four horses in Hong Kong, starting with English sprinter Mughal Prince, whom he bought off ex-England footballer, Francis Lee.
Then came the ill-fated Shadow Dancer, who never saw the racetrack after an injury sustained on the then troublesome training track at Sha Tin. Australian Group winner Trobis has won for Hussain and trainer Bruce Hutchison and finally came Mughal Palace, who has caused a bigger sensation than the rest of them combined.
Champion trainer Hayes is known to be deeply upset - not least because he has a totally impeccable record, unblemished by any hint of equine drug abuse.
Hayes has been charged under Rules 53 and 58(i)(b). The first rule states that a panel of inquiry 'may hold the trainer of the horse responsible for administering the prohibited substance to the horse and may punish the trainer'.
The catch-all second rule states that a trainer shall 'be responsible for all matters pertaining to the running of his stable including stable routine, feeding, security inside the stable and the work of the stable staff allocated to him'.
Valley roundup - Page 26