Ben Currie was disqualified for 27 months a year ago, after an internal review of a Queensland Racing Integrity Commission stewards’ disqualification decision. (AAP image, John Gass)
Ben Currie was disqualified for 27 months a year ago, after an internal review of a Queensland Racing Integrity Commission stewards’ disqualification decision. (AAP image, John Gass)

Banned trainer: Positive-test horse with ‘serial doper’

A RACEHORSE that tested positive for testosterone, after racing under a Toowoomba trainer, could have been contaminated while with a "notorious doper" two weeks earlier, a tribunal has been told.

Ben Currie is seeking a review of disqualifications imposed after racehorse Shakira tested positive for excess testosterone and Dreamscope and Eight Over were found with cocaine in their systems.

Mr Currie was disqualified for 27 months a year ago, after an internal review of a Queensland Racing Integrity Commission stewards' disqualification decision.

Lawyer Scott McLeod, QC, for QRIC, today asked a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal member to still impose a total 18 months' disqualification.

But Jim Murdoch, QC, for Mr Currie, said Mr Currie should have been fined instead of disqualified for bringing horses to race with prohibited substances in the systems.

He said if the member decided to still disqualify Mr Currie, it should be for no more than the 12 months' disqualification he had already served.

Mr Murdoch said two weeks before Shakira tested positive for testosterone, at Toowoomba in 2018, the horse had been in the stable of Victorian trainer, Robert Smerdon.

He said Mr Smerdon was "a serial horse doper" who had since been excluded from racing for life.

Ben Currie was disqualified for 27 months a year ago, after an internal review of a Queensland Racing Integrity Commission stewards’ disqualification decision. (AAP image, John Gass)
Ben Currie was disqualified for 27 months a year ago, after an internal review of a Queensland Racing Integrity Commission stewards’ disqualification decision. (AAP image, John Gass)

Tribunal member Robert King-Scott put to Mr McLeod that as the horse came from a "notorious doper trainer" in Victoria, it was more likely the substance got into the horse there, rather than in Queensland.

But Mr McLeod said it was "pure speculation" and it could not be discounted that the substance was given to the horse after it arrived at Mr Currie's stable.

Mr Murdoch said normally racehorses tested positive for cocaine because of human contact or environmental contamination.

He said Mr Currie was not told Dreamscope tested positive for cocaine after it raced at Toowoomba in September, 2018, until eight weeks later.

It was not just his staff, but race club and QIRC employees who could have had contact with the horse on race day, and some people within the racing industry used cocaine, he said.

"After eight weeks the trainer has no chance of investigating what or who the horse had contact with," Mr Murdoch said.

Mr Murdoch said Mr Currie was not advised of Eight Over's positive swab for cocaine, at Toowoomba on February 2, last year, until April 5 that year.

Mr McLeod said the onus was on a trainer to ensure a horse was free of any prohibited substances on race days.

He said Mr Currie appeared to take no action to determine how cocaine got into Dreamscope's system, before Eight Over also tested positive for cocaine four months later.

The member reserved his decision.

Originally published as Banned trainer: Positive-test horse had been with 'serial doper'



Drastic new steps announced to harden border

premium_icon Drastic new steps announced to harden border

Coronavirus Gold Coast: Victorians barred from entering Queensland

IPhone lands girlfriend of alleged bikie in court

premium_icon IPhone lands girlfriend of alleged bikie in court

Raid was targeting the alleged supply of cocaine

Heartbroken farewells for ‘bonafide champion’

premium_icon Heartbroken farewells for ‘bonafide champion’

Despite almost an hour of CPR, he couldn’t be revived