RWWA Stewards today concluded an inquiry into the report from the ChemCentre in Perth, that the post race urine sample taken from EL RIJES at Ascot on Saturday, 17 March 2012 after competing and winning in Race 2, the St Bart’s-Perth Stakes (1100m) was found to contain testosterone at a concentration in excess of 20 micrograms per litre of urine.
The following prohibited substances when present at or below the concentrations respectively set out are excepted from the provisions of AR 178B:-
(g) Testosterone (including both free testosterone and testosterone liberated from its conjugates):
(i) in geldings: at a mass concentration of 20 micrograms per litre in urine.
At the time this sample was taken EL RIJES was recorded as a gelding by the Registrar of Racehorses and had been recorded as such since the time of naming.
The inquiry heard evidence from RWWA Industry Veterinarian Dr Judith Medd, RWWA Investigator Mr Geoff Johnson, Racing NSW Senior Official Veterinarian and Chairman of NEIWAG Dr. Craig Suann and ChemCentre Analyst Mr James White. The Stewards also had documentary evidence from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) who conducted the confirmatory testing.
During the course of the inquiry the Stewards were presented with three significant pieces of evidence.
The investigation traced back the horse’s history to the time of weaning. Numerous persons associated with the handling of El Rijes were interviewed and no record could be found that this horse had ever been gelded, despite the physical appearance of the horse being consistent with that of a gelding.
A report from the ARFL also confirmed the presence in urine of additional steroid markers. The markers referred to within the ARFL report were monitored according to the published work of Leung et al. at the Racing Laboratory of the Hong Kong Jockey Club (Veterinary Journal 187 (2011) 60-64). This research found that testicular marker steroids were able to be used to potentially identify cryptorchids (rigs) from presumed geldings. A cryptorchid (or “rig”) by definition is an animal where one or both testicles are undescended and have remained in the abdominal cavity. The identified marker steroids, as reported by ARFL in the case of EL RIJES, were found at levels considered abnormally high for a presumed gelding’s urine. According to the report, the presence of these identified markers would suggest cryptorchidism.
The Stewards also heard evidence of the results of a human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) stimulation test undertaken on EL RIJES under strict supervision by RWWA Stewards and conducted by the RWWA Veterinarian. An hCG stimulation test is recognised as a standard diagnostic test for the differentiation of male horses from geldings. The expert evidence of Dr Medd, and supported by Dr Suann, confirmed that the results obtained from this test on EL RIJES were consistent with the parameters associated with cryptorchids, in that the post hCG administration blood sample
demonstrated a significant increase in the horses testosterone level, which would not have occurred in a gelding.
Dr. Suann confirmed that the report of the ARFL demonstrated that the steroid markers found in EL RIJES urine were “in excess of what is normal for a gelding”. Dr. Suann further noted that a similar steroid marker profile had been previously recorded by the ARFL in another 2yo horse also found to be a bilateral rig. Dr Suann confirmed that in his opinion the finding of these steroid markers, combined with the positive hCG test results, supported a conclusion that EL RIJES was a bilateral rig.
After carefully considering all of the evidence to the requisite standard the Stewards could not be satisfied that EL RIJES is a gelding, and as such would be subject to the provisions of AR 178C (1)(g). On the contrary it was determined, given;
That there was no evidence of castration having taken place The presence of the appropriate steroid markers as identified by ARFL The positive results of the hCG stimulation test The expert evidence of Dr Medd and Dr Suann
that EL RIJES is in fact a bilateral cryptorchid or rig.
Under such circumstance no further action is warranted other than to make the appropriate amendments to the registration details of EL RIJES to reflect it as a rig.
Denis Borovica – General Manager Racing Integrity
Ph: 9445 5427