Geena's Girl. Photo: The Digital Birdcage.
Canterbury horseman Kevin Townley has been fined $11,000 after pleading guilty to presenting a horse to race not free of a prohibited substance.
Geena’s Girl returned a positive swab to Ketoprofen, an anti-inflammatory, after winning at Addington on March 2.
For Townley, it was the second such incident within a month after another stable runner, Well Defined, returned a positive swab to Ketoprofen after winning at Orari on February 3.
Townley also pled guilty in that case and was fined $7,000.
In his written submissions, Townley declared that he was devastated by the recent incidents, which he put down to administering the product
“This is a devastating turn of events and to explain it I must return to my previous case in February as the two are intertwined,” he said.
“In the case of Well Defined I was shocked and bewildered as I had no memory of giving him Ketaprofen. I also consulted my diary and there was also no record of it.
“I could not offer an explanation for the presence of Ketaprofen in the urine sample taken from Well Defined and could not advise when the gelding was last treated with Ketaprofen.
“10 days after receiving this news I lined up Geena’s Girl and ended up here again. I did not treat Geena’s Girl with Ketaprofen and had no entry in my diary.
“Who in their right mind would do this after what had just happened and of course knowing we would be swabbed if winning.
“There is not a shadow of doubt in my mind now as to what has happened.
“I did not knowingly give Well Defined or Geena’s Girl Ketaprofen at all and my diary was correct in both cases.
“The cause can only be this: I quite often give my horse injectable vitamin E + selenium known as E-SE.
“On odd occasions I may get a horse show signs of muscle tie-up and if NOT RACING I will mix E-SE and Ketaprofen in one syringe and treat them.
“I have done this for decades with no problems, but I must always be careful to take the E-SE first, then the Ketaprofen, so as not to contaminate the E-SE.
“Doing this the reverse way has to be the cause of these two positive swabs with Well Defined getting E-SE about 28hrs before racing and Geena’s Girl I believe about 36hrs.”
The Judicial Control Authority determined $11,000 an appropriate fine, siting the “ever-present need to maintain the integrity of and public confidence in harness racing by adequately punishing the breach.
They called the prior positive swab by Well Defined an “obvious, significant aggravating factor”.
They found that Townley was negligent in a number of respects and that he had a chance to change his procedures and routines, but the acquisition of a medication safe was the only one.
The starting point for his fine was $10,000 with $3,000 added on due to aggravating factors, but $2,000 removed due to Townley’s co-operation and early guilty plea.