Think of horse racing and you think vets and guys in lab coats. Well, perhaps not, but they had their season in the spotlight, with high-profile drug tests and the most significant outbreak of disease in almost 15 years. John Moore's stable was hit with a strain of equine herpes virus (EHV) in February, but it was soon apparent the contagion was across Sha Tin. Not since racing was shut down in late 1992 with 75 per cent of the horse population contracting equine-2 influenza virus A (H3N8) had Hong Kong been hit this way. After initial confusion on the identity of the virus, tests in England identified it as a strain of EHV, and up to 11 per cent of the Sha Tin horses came down with the symptoms - though the Jockey Club did not admit as much until April. In the end, the 2007 outbreak was mild, most horses returning to competitive form in days, not weeks, and the club putting a positive spin on it as being saved by vet vigilance and rigorous preventive routines. The drug positives were more contentious, especially the forced withdrawal of Australian sprinter Takeover Target from the Hong Kong Sprint hours before the race. Takeover Target arrived here positive to steroid 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone hexanoate in October, two months before the Sprint, and trainer Joe Janiak assured officials it would clear quickly. But the drug, administered by Janiak to assist the gelding in his travel from Japan, persisted and Takeover Target's fairy tale descended into farce as Janiak refused to scratch despite indications that the substance would not clear. Withdrawal on race day cost Janiak a shot at a US$ 1 million Global Sprint Challenge bonus and eventually a sizeable bill for the former taxi driver - a HK$250,000 fine and an invoice for the costs of travel and stabling. Hong Kong-Macau Trophy winner Crown's Master tested positive for the same substance and the Macau-based trainer Joe Lau was fined HK$150,000. Then there was Sydney Owner, whose time here will be remembered for her returning a positive to aminorex, closely related to the party drug Ice. A long-running inquiry failed to turn up how the Andreas Schutz-trained mare might have contacted the drug and stewards eventually delivered a no-blame open finding.