Three horses trained by Lee and Shannon Hope could have recorded high cobalt readings after a long-term and legal administration regime, an expert has told an inquiry.
Monash University Professor Colin Chapman said it was possible the long-term program of nutritional supplementation and injectable medicines containing cobalt could result in it accumulating in a horse’s body.
That could result in its unpredictable excretion including occasions where the level could exceed the declared race day threshold, he has told the Racing and Disciplinary Appeals Board.
Racing Victoria stewards’ counsel Jeff Gleeson QC is cross-examining Prof Chapman on Monday after Best Suggestion, Choose and Windy Citi Bear returned cobalt levels above the threshold of 200 micrograms per litre of urine following races last year.
Gleeson said there was no study anywhere in the world that had resulted in a horse recording a cobalt concentration reading of more than 300, 400 or 500 micrograms per litre 24 hours or more after the last administration of cobalt.
He suggested there was no sound evidentiary basis for concluding it was even possible that accumulation, in combination with other factors, resulted in the readings recorded by Best Suggestion (510mcg/L) or Choose (450mcg/L).
Prof Chapman, of the faculty of pharmacy and pharmaceutical studies, disagreed and said there were many factors involved.
“If there’s accumulation and then other factors come into play then of course what you’ve seen happen can happen,” he said.
The Hopes have pleaded not guilty to the administration, or causing to be administered, the prohibited substance as well as the presentation of the horses to race with a prohibited substance in their system.