Trainer Paul Murray maintains innocence over cobalt found in bottles


Kembla Grange trainer Paul Murray is maintaining his innocence despite bottles confiscated by stewards from his stable fridge showing the presence of racing's latest drug cobalt.

Stewards opened an inquiry into the bottles at the Kembla Grange meeting on June 17, which was adjourned until a date to be fixed, to allow further investigation.

Kembla Grange trainer Paul Murray.

Kembla Grange trainer Paul Murray.

"I told them [the stewards] on the day that I had never seen it before," Murray said. "I don't know where it came from.

"I can continue training. They have been testing my horses since they found the stuff and haven't found a positive [to cobalt].

"They tell me they are going to retest a few of my horses' swabs now and I just have to wait for the results."

Murray has became the second trainer in NSW to have been found with cobalt. Unlike Newcastle's Darren Smith, he has not been stood down.

Smith had his entries refused after a stable raid at the end of May and his training business shut down.

It is understood, Racing NSW is still withholding the prizemoney from Testarhythm's win in the Ortensia Stakes at Scone in May because of concerns about his cobalt levels.

The bottles containing cobalt were found in a stable fridge at Murray's during a routine stable inspection by the Racing NSW Surveillance and Intelligence Unit on raceday.

Murray's runners at the meeting were allowed to start and have since returned negative results to cobalt.

Deputy chairman of stewards Greg Rudolph said acting under the provisions of Australian Rule of Racing R178 DD, stored samples of horses trained by Murray could be resubmitted for further testing, as part of the ongoing investigation. In NSW there is no threshold for cobalt in the rules but it is considered a prohibited substance.

Stewards will continue the inquiry, once they have the results of the retested samples, on a date to be determined.

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys said testing had been stepped up and that a wider range of prohibited substances can be tested for then ever before.

"Now we have a test for cobalt and the fact that our new multi-million dollar state of the art equipment can screen for a thousand prohibited substances at the one time, we will resubmit a number of samples for further testing," V'landys said.

"We have hundreds of stored samples and we will continue a program of retesting [for] prohibited substances".