Racing Victoria charges five horse racing trainers over breast cancer drug positives, including Symon Wilde and Mark and Levi Kavanagh.


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The case is far from over. In relation to the video, Weir has already pleaded guilty to three charges of using a jigger on horses, three charges of animal cruelty and one charge of improper and dishonourable conduct.

A directions hearing has been set for early next week for a submission on penalties.

Weir is currently pre-training up to 100 thoroughbreds on his Trevenson Park property at Baringhup, near Maldon, for industry heavyweights such as Chris Waller and Lloyd Williams. He is permitted to do so because he is no longer disqualified.

More to come

Five trainers to face breast cancer drug charges

Trainers at five Victorian stables have been charged over their horses testing positive to a breast cancer drug that Racing Victoria revealed is not legally available for human use in Australia.

Racing Victoria stewards announced a total of 12 charges on Tuesday after a 12-month investigation.

Sirileo Miss has returned to racing after testing positive to formestane, a product used to treat breast cancer.

Sirileo Miss has returned to racing after testing positive to formestane, a product used to treat breast cancer.Credit: Getty Images

Smiley Chan, Mark and Levi Kavanagh, Julius Sandhu, Symon Wilde, and Ash and Amy Yargi will all face the Victorian Racing Tribunal on charges at a date to be fixed. There are no set penalties for the presentation charges.

Amy Yargi also works as a mounting yard presenter for Racing.com. The industry’s broadcaster says her role will not be affected.

“We are aware of the charges that have been made and until such time those charges have been heard and a decision has been made, Amy will be considered for mounting yard analyst work with Racing.com,” the broadcaster’s chief executive, Peter Campbell, told this masthead.

Mark Kavanagh belongs to one of five stables to be charged by stewards today over race day positives.

Mark Kavanagh belongs to one of five stables to be charged by stewards today over race day positives.Credit: Darrian Traynor

Each of the five stables had a horse return a positive urine sample to formestane (a steroidal aromatase inhibitor) and anabolic steroid 4-Hydroxytestosterone on different days at different racetracks within seven weeks between February and April last year.

Formestane is used internationally for the treatment of breast cancer, mainly in postmenopausal women, because it inhibits the production of estrogen. It can also lead to an increase in the body’s production of hormones and testosterone.

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Racing Victoria said foremestane was not registered for either human or animal use in Australia. It is also on the WADA banned list.

“Formestane is not on the exempted list of therapeutic goods listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods,” Racing Victoria said in a statement.

“The ARTG is the public database of therapeutic goods that can be legally supplied in Australia. This means that formestane cannot be legally supplied for use in humans in Australia.”

The five positive horses – Chan’s gelding Lake Tai, Kavanagh mare Circle Of Magic, Sandhu’s gelding Alphaville, Wilde’s mare Sirileo Miss and the Yargi’s gelding Yulara – were stood down for a year under Racing Victoria’s mandatory suspensions for steroid positives. Their 12-month bans have now expired.

The five stables were charged by stewards under AR 240 – a prohibited substance in a sample taken from a horse at a race meeting.

In statements released in September last year, both the Kavanagh and Yargi stables pointed to contamination as a possible source of their positive swabs.

Warrnambool trainer Symon Wilde has been frustrated by the 12-month ban of his mare Sirileo Miss.

Warrnambool trainer Symon Wilde has been frustrated by the 12-month ban of his mare Sirileo Miss.Credit: Getty Images

“Since the irregularity, she [Circle of Magic] has been tested multiple times and each time has returned a negative swab,” the Kavanaghs wrote.

“This then suggests that there could be a problem with contamination either during the collection of the sample or throughout the testing process.”

The Yargis said formestane was not a drug that “we’ve ever heard of, or our vets have ever heard of”.

“It is a contamination of some sort, and I think that it’s damaging to all trainers’ reputations, and it’s upsetting that we have to go through this,” they said in a statement.

While Chan, Wilde and the Kavanaghs have all been hit with two charges, Sandhu and the Yargi stable will face three charges because 6a-Hydroxyandrost-4-ene3,17-Dione – which is a metabolite of the anabolic steroid androst-4-ene-3, 6, 17-trione (6-OXO)was also detected in the urine samples of their horses.

Wilde told this masthead earlier this month that he had been frustrated by Sirileo Miss’ ban because “she has missed a whole 12 months in the prime of her racing life”.

A sixth horse also returned a positive swab last year, but no action was taken because the control sample also showed traces of formestane. A control sample, used as a quality assurance measure, is taken from fluid that is rinsed through the collection pan and sample bottles before a horse’s urine sample is collected.

Control samples from the other five horses did not show traces of the prohibited substances.

It took Racing Victoria stewards almost six months before they released details of the positive swabs to the public last year. There was no suggestion of how the mystery cluster had occurred.

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