Junoob has been stripped of his win in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) and leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller was fined $30,000 after the imported stayer was found with a prohibited substance in his system after the race.
Racing New South Wales stewards revealed yesterday that a trace of Frusemide had been found in the urine sample taken from Junoob following his victory in The Metropolitan and Waller pleaded guilty to the charge at the enquiry yesterday.
Waller claimed that Junoob had been inadvertently administrated with Frusemide on the morning of the race by foreperson Analise Trollope due to an administrative effort, but he was adamant that the Frusemide had no performance enhancing effects on Junoob.
Racing New South Wales stewards accepted Waller’s explanation of events, but were left with no choice but to disqualify Junoob from the race and they elected to impose a $30,000 fine on the leading trainer.
Waller released a statement following the stewards enquiry and said that he accepted the findings of Racing New South Wales, but wanted to move on from the incident and make sure that a similar situation did not occur again.
“Today has been difficult, however I will never lose respect for Racing NSW or the high level of integrity it upholds,” Waller said.
“The findings from today support the fact that it was an innocent mistake that occurred, but one with significant repercussions that I as the trainer must accept.
“To further safeguard from the slightest possibility of it happening again, we have extended CCTV footage within our stable from 28 days to 36+ days to ensure possible intruders are monitored, staff procedures are adhered too and the horse are continually kept safe.
“A lot of this comes at a cost, however a small cost in the whole scheme of things.
“We will ensure witnesses accompany any treatments prescribed by the veterinarian or senior staff members and implement the use electronic microchip scanners.
“I accept the decision handed down by Racing NSW stewards today and I now look forward to putting this behind me and striving for further success.”
Waller-trained Opinion finished second behind Junoob in The Metropolitan and is the new winner of the race, while recently deceased Araldo and Brian Smith-trained Kingdoms round out the new placings for the Group 1 event.
The $30,000 fine is the largest that a trainer has been fined since John Hawkes received a $40,000 fine in 1994 after Strategic tested positive for speed.