Trainer Peter Gelagotis admitted to a stable mix up before being fined $2000 for his star three year old Hvasstan returning a positive swab after winning the Group 2 $220,000 Sportingbet Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at Moonee Valley on March 15.
The Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board imposed the fine and disqualified Hvasstan elevating the Mick Kent trained Philippi as the winner of the Group 2 feature for three year olds.
Gelagotis pleaded guilty to presenting Hvasstan at the races with the anti inflammatory drug Ibuprofen in his system and explained that a person treating another horse in the stable had unknowingly contaminated the colt.
The Moe trainer was naturally disappointed for the stable and the owners for the loss of prizemoney but was pleased that they said they would still support him in the future.
“It’s taken us twenty years to achieve that result, we have worked hard to get where we are. We believe we are great ambassadors for the sport,” Gelagotis said.
“It’s a sad situation. I offered restitution of the prizemoney, but everyone said ‘Peter we support you and we believe in you’.”
RAD Board chairman Judge Russell Lewis said the board was sympathetic to Gelagotis and the stable and offered some suggestion on how to improve his stable procedures to avoid another disaster.
“You have suffered a loss of prestige in having trained a Group 2 winner as well as a financial loss and there’s a potential loss with the horse as a stallion,” Judge Lewis said.
Hvasstan’s ‘win’ in the Alister Clark was realising the faith that Gelagotis had placed in him and it was a progression on his Group 3 win in the Spring in the $150,000 Starlight Children’s Foundation Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield.
Hvasstan then went on to mix it with the best three year olds and ran a mighty race to finish fourth to Fiveandahalfstar in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on November 3.
Two runs in Sydney in the Autumn following the Alister Clark Stakes saw Hvasstan struggling to regain his best form and finished down the track behind Kiwi three year old It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 $500,000 M. J. Bale Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill and the Group 1 $1.5m David Jones Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick.
Gelagotis then travelled to Adelaide for the Group 1 $500,000 Centrebet South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville on May 4 but Hvasstan was never a winning chance and beat one runner home.