In a major setback for the four Victorian trainers facing possible cobalt doping charges, a leading international veterinary researcher in England is poised to publish an editorial article damning cobalt use.
Ali Mobasheri, Professor of Musculoskeletal Physiology and head of the veterinary department at the University of Surrey, is about to publish Cobalt Chloride Doping in Racehorses: Concerns over a Potentially Lethal Practice.
Fairfax Media contacted Professor Mobasheri and understands that this article will be published in the next few weeks in the internationally regarded The Veterinary Journal.
If Victorian racing needed any more convincing that the international racing and veterinary community are watching what is happening in Victoria, this provides further proof.
Professor Mobasheri’s article is based on positive cobalt tests in Victoria and NSW.
The Veterinary Journal, formerly known as the British Veterinary Journal, is a publication of great significance in the international veterinary community.
Professor Mobasheri is an eminent researcher with many publications on musculoskeletal medicine and arthritis in horses.
The fact that Professor Mobasheri felt moved to write the article demonstrates the level of international concern about the toxic effects of high levels of cobalt.
This article is not about the performance-enhancing effects of cobalt but is about cobalt as a poison that is potentially lethal.
Racing Victoria officials are concerned that cobalt has already tarnished Victoria’s international racing reputation and that of the spring carnival.
While there has been criticism of Racing Victoria’s handling of the cobalt crisis and the length of this investigation, there is much at stake – livelihoods and reputations are on the line.
That includes the reputations of leading trainers and that of Racing Victoria domestically and internationally.
Senior international racing executives have applauded RVL for conducting such a detailed drug investigation. “Clearly we want to get it right,” one racing executive said.
According to many racing officials, the cobalt crisis must be handled perfectly and transparently.
Not only are articles appearing in leading scientific journals damning cobalt abuse, there are also online racing journalists in the US questioning whether racing regulators will have the resolve to assert their authority and penalise trainers appropriately.
Trainers Lee and Shannon Hope, Peter Moody, Mark Kavanagh and Danny O’Brien have all had horses return irregularities to the outlawed cobalt.
However, there have been no charges laid by Racing Victoria investigators, who have worked around the clock since the irregularities came to light some months ago.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald.