A war of words has erupted between authorities in NSW and Victoria over the implementation of the rule which led to the withdrawal of El Roca from the Hobartville Stakes.
Racing NSW stewards took the favourite out of Saturday’s Group Two race at Rosehill when they determined the colt had been treated with an intravenous electrolyte product at 6am the day before the race.
Australian Rule 178AA (1)(b) says a horse cannot be treated with such a product at any time during the one clear day prior to 12.01am on the day of the scheduled race.
However, Victoria still operates on a local rule which allows for 24 hourse before a race, a practice defended by chief steward Terry Bailey.
“The spirit of the rule has been taken out of context,” Bailey told Melbourne’s RSN radio.
“It was to alleviate stomach tubing.
“Deep down in a five page document somewhere the Langs IV treatment was ruled out.
“It is encouraging people to cheat when the truth will do. They will just change the records as giving it on Thursday night.”
Bailey’s NSW counterpart Ray Murrihy said he was perplexed by Victoria’s stand.
“Victoria was a co-signatory and a co-drafter of the rule and it’s disappointing to see the Australian rule isn’t being administered,” he said.
Stewards used their discretion to take El Roca out of the race, saying it would not be fair to other runners to allow him to race.
Racing NSW fully endorsed that decision in a statement on Monday.
Chief executive Peter V’landys before the rule was put in place, the Australian Racing Board referred it to the National Veterinary and Analysts Committee to ensure compliance would not be contrary to the health and welfare of horses.
“Having received such assurances, the Australian Racing Board, where every state and territory was represented, resolved unanimously to adopt the new rule, effective from 1 September 2013,” V’landys said.
“Accordingly, as a member of the Australian Racing Board and as a signatory to the Australian Rules of Racing, it is obligatory that Racing NSW and the Principal Racing Authorities in the other states and territories adhere to those Rules.
“Any local rule introduced by a Principal Racing Authority must be complementary to the Australian Rules of Racing and must not be in conflict with those rules.”
The wrangle is of little comfort to El Roca’s New Zealand trainer Trent Busuttin and his vet David Garth who recently moved to Sydney from Melbourne.
Both were unaware of the rule and the treatment was recorded.
El Roca will now run in the Liverpool City Cup at Warwick Farm on Saturday as his lead-up to the Group One Randwick Guineas a week later.