A Cox Plate start for Happy Trails under Paul Beshara’s name will depend on the Adelaide trainer being granted a stay of proceedings after he was disqualified for six months by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board today.
Beshara was found guilty last Friday for treating Happy Trials on race morning when the six year old was due to run in Group 2 $300,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 14.
Happy Trails was subsequently scratched by stewards after Racing Victoria’s Compliance Assurance Team (CAT) members inspected the gelding for a second time on race morning to find a damp area and a lump on his horse’s neck.
CAT member Dion Villella then noted that a raised area had formed, consistent with a haematoma and when pressure was applied, blood was seen on the neck.
Beshara will appeal the six month disqualification and his only chance of saddling up Happy Trials in Saturday’s Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley is for him to be granted a stay of proceedings from the Victorian Civil and Administration Tribunal (VCAT).
“I’ll go all the way,” Beshara said after the RAD decision.
“Basically they are saying we are liars.”
Beshara denied having treated Happy Trails illegally but the head of RAD, Judge Russell Lewis stuck with the testimony of Villella and fellow CAT member Kane Ashby.
“In the end the Board is of the opinion that Beshara’s explanation for the damp area and the oozing of blood amounts to sheer invention,” Judge Lewis said.
As it stands Beshara’s disqualification will commence at midnight on Monday, October 28, giving the trainer time to clear his stables, but is unable to start any horses under his name.
A statement from Victoria Racing stated “The effect of the disqualification is that Beshara has been given time to make arrangements for the disposal or transfer of horses trained by him.
“Beshara, as trainer, is unable to start any horse from today in accordance with AR 196(6)(a) and AR 196(6)(b) and, as a result, Happy Trails will not be allowed to contest Saturday’s Group 1 Sportingbet Cox Plate under Beshara’s name.”
Bashara was charged with breaching AR 178E(1) which reads as follows:
“Notwithstanding the provisions of AR 178C(2), no person without the permission of the Stewards may administer or cause to be administered any medication to a horse on race day prior to such horse running in a race.”
Happy Trails shot back into Cox Plate contention with a last stride win in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 5 beating top fancy Puissance De Lune and Caulfield Cup winner Fawkner.
The Cox Plate market order has Happy Trails a $21 chance alongside of Green Moon with super mare Atlantic Jewel heading the betting at $2.30.
The Gai Waterhouse trained Fiorenta and Underwood Stakes winner It’s A Dundeel share the second line of betting at $5 with Puissance De Lune at $7.50 and Caulfield Guineas winner Long John $12.