Evidence Heard in Cocaine Case in New South Wales

Racing New South Wales stewards opened an inquiry on Monday into the analyst's finding of benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, in the urine sample taken from the 3-year-old filly Love You Honey, who finished unplaced in race seven April 25, 2005, at Gosford Racecourse in Australia.

The horse is trained by Australia's leading trainer, Gai Waterhouse. As it is in many racing jurisdictions, cocaine is completely banned in Australia.

The trainer was in attendance with her lawyer, Clive Jeffreys, as was her stablehand, Roy Storch, who also had his lawyer with him. The possibility that the cocaine was passed second hand through hands has been offered by Waterhouse as the reason why the horse had traces of cocaine in her system.

At the hearing, evidence was taken from Waterhouse and Storch, and evidence was heard from ARFL official analyst Allen Stenhouse and Racing NSW senior official veterinarian, Dr. Craig Suann, who assisted the inquiry. A total of 71 exhibits were tendered, including a submission from Dr. Thomas Tobin, veterinarian pharmacologist and toxicologist, of Lexington, Ky.

After hearing submissions from Jeffreys and Waterhouse the stewards ruled that to the appropriate standard of proof they were satisfied that the Analyst's finding of benzoylecgonine in the sample taken from Love You Honey had been as a result of the prohibited substance passing through the horse's system. Accordingly, Love You Honey was disqualified from the aforementioned race at Gosford on April 25.

The inquiry was adjourned and the stewards directed the racecourse investigator to interview two other Waterhouse stable employees. The inquiry will resume at in Sydney on Friday, July 29. If found guilty, Australia's leading trainer faces a fine and/or suspension.