Harness identity Cran Dalgety's horses under RIU investigation over cobalt irregularities
High-profile New Zealand harness identity Cran Dalgety is involved in an investigation over cobalt and believes feed contamination is the cause.
Dalgety is questioning why he wasn't informed earlier than Tuesday about the cobalt test readings for his horses.
"Apparently a number of my horses were having higher readings but I wasn't told at the time," he said.
"But I was only made aware of that yesterday."
That was when the RIU investigators visited his stables and informed him of the readings of his two winning horses.
Dalgety's understanding is that because his other runners didn't win he wasn't informed about elevated readings. He said if he had been, he would have acted "instantly".
The New Zealand Racing Laboratory Services advised the RIU of irregularities in the urine samples taken from two of the West Melton trainer's horses.
The first was Fatima Siad at the Timaru HRC meeting on November 19 and the second was Raukapuka Ruler at the Addington meeting on December 16.
Fatima Siad was the raging $1.40 favourite and won by a length with seven and a-half lengths to the third horse.
Raukapuka Ruler was a $2.40 favourite and won by two and a-half lengths.
The owners of both horses have been paid the stake money.
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"The irregularities are to cobalt which in New Zealand Harness Racing is a prohibited substance at a level above 200 ug/L," Mike Godber, RIU general manager, said in a statement.
RIU officials are conducting an investigation and would give no further comment until completing the investigation.
Dalgety is desperate for a solution to the predicament he faces.
"I'm sitting here hoping we could find the cause of the contamination instantly but I know it will take weeks," he said.
"We run a real good ship but something has gone wrong along the way. There's obviously been a screw up in the feeding of the supplements."
Dalgety is convinced something has gone wrong in the manufacturing process of one of the various supplements he feeds his horses.
"The public can judge for themselves," he said. "They will either think I'm corrupt or there's been a mix up."
A third generation horse trainer, Dalgety said it is scary being a horse trainer in modern times buying supplements containing multi-vitamins.
Last year a cobalt positive in harness racing was caused by contamination in a feed supplement.
Southland harness trainer Shane Walkinshaw had to prove he was innocent after one of his horse's tested positive to cobalt.
He was able to prove a batch of a supplement he used, Equine Blood Booster, had high cobalt levels.
In another high profile New Zealand case, Matamata thoroughbred trainers Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott escaped disqualification but were hit with a $50,000 fine and costs of $10,500 after cobalt was detected in three of their horses.
O'Sullivan and Scott pleaded guilty at a hearing to presenting three horses from their Wexford Stables team for racing with the banned compound in their systems blaming contaminated water in troughs their horses shared with cattle.
When the RIU announced in June 2015 that O'Sullivan and Scott were under investigation, it was the first time that any New Zealand licence-holder had become the subject of an alleged cobalt offence.
Dalgety, a 25-year veteran, has consistently been among the leading trainers on the New Zealand premiership table and currently lies fourth-equal with 25 wins this season and won the 2013 premiership.