April 13, 2024

Toowoomba trainer Mark Currie and his son Ben Currie have been uncovered responsible by the Queensland Racing Integrity Fee (QRIC) of becoming in cost of a racehorse with a prohibited material in its program.

It arrives soon after their Eagle Farm Racecourse winner, Finish Assembly, returned a favourable post-race sample for cocaine all through December 2022.

Trainer Mark Currie was not physically existing at the race and experienced still left his son and foreman Ben Currie in charge of the horse.

They both pleaded not guilty at the QRIC inquiry and strenuously denied offering the horse cocaine.

“The very last time I touched the horse it was clean,” Ben Currie informed the commission’s stewards.

“Why would anyone in their proper mind do that?”

The Curries alternatively prompt the horse had been tampered with right after the race.

‘I introduced him in clean’

The gelding had given a clean up blood sample an hour prior to the race at 3:30pm, but its article-race sample, gathered at 5pm, tested positive for cocaine and its metabolites.

“I introduced him in clean,” Mark Currie advised the inquiry.

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Ben Currie told the inquiry he would appeal against the result.(ABC Southern Queensland: Tobi Loftus)

Ben experienced argued that it must have originated when the horse was “not completely in his care” during the 90-minute window.

The Curries informed stewards that 20 to 30 individuals had been in get in touch with with the horse soon after its race-get and that the optimistic sample could mirror cocaine staying a “widespread recreational compound”.

“It really is fairly popular exercise to give the horse a pat and consider a photo with the horse,” Ben said.

He also questioned why the positive sample could not be analyzed to display the focus of cocaine existing.

Two beneficial assessments in previous 10 years

QRIC’s Racing Science Centre director Dr Shawn Stanley instructed the inquiry that the laboratory was only equipped to check for the existence of cocaine, not the quantity.

“There is no quantitative method for screening cocaine in equine urine,” he said.

He also instructed the inquiry that the Racing Science Centre tested about 15,000 samples a year, but there had only been two occasions in the earlier 10 years in which thoroughbred samples experienced examined positive for cocaine.

Senior steward Paul Zimmerman set to Ben Currie in the course of the inquiry that each of those good samples, from 2018 and 2019, have been from horses he properly trained.

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The QRIC adjourned the hearing on Thursday afternoon to take into account penalties.(ABC Southern Queensland: Laura Cocks)

But Ben argued that his historical past, which he experienced denied in the past, was not pertinent, given the inquiry was targeted on his father.

He also instructed the inquiry he was not present at the racetrack on both historical instances that optimistic samples have been taken.

“It problems me that two unique stewards have introduced up my heritage,” Ben stated.

Mr Zimmerman replied that their “tests would clearly show it truly is not a substance quickly detected in horses”.

Curries to enchantment in opposition to end result

Ben also instructed the inquiry the process was procedurally unfair and claimed he considered he was coming in to give evidence about his father.

He reported he experienced been blindsided by the demand brought in opposition to him.

“I just don’t recognize why I get treated like that,” Ben explained.

“[This will have] a massive lengthy-expression impact for what I do individually.”

The steward’s inquiry adjourned on Thursday afternoon to think about penalties. The Curries instructed the inquiry they would charm versus the result.