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The initial results of testing for cobalt levels on Queensland horses should be available on Friday.

Racing Queensland’s chief integrity officer Wade Birch said the results from the ChemCentre in Perth were due to be sent to him on Friday.

It is a week later than expected but Birch says the delay is due to the large number of samples sent to the centre from all around Australia.

“We will be making the results known but at this stage we won’t be naming anyone until any irregularity is confirmed by second tests as per legislation,” Birch said.

Hot on the heels of the cobalt scandal that has enveloped Victorian racing with prominent trainers Mark Kavanagh, Peter Moody and Danny O’Brien all under investigation, Queensland is facing its own drama.

It was revealed earlier this month that several Queensland horses across both the harness and thoroughbred codes had returned irregularities in their tests.

If trainers are found to be guilty of administering cobalt to their horses then they could face lengthy suspensions.

Those involved won’t be named yet though.

Birch has received legal advice and also the opinion of experienced race officials on what timeframe any sample which failed to pass the cobalt threshold should be made public.

Cobalt is a substance that occurs naturally in horses but in higher quantities can generate more red blood cells to carry oxygen through the body and thus allow a horse to perform at a peak level for longer without the onset of fatigue.

Australian rules now dictate that if cobalt is detected at a concentration above 200 micrograms per litre in urine in a race-day sample it is a prohibited substance.

Samples are first screened in Queensland and then any needing further examination are passed on to Perth.

If samples fail the Perth tests for the cobalt threshold there are further tests in either Hong Kong or Sydney.

Racing Queensland has so far sent about 60 samples to Perth for further testing.

 
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