Rockhampton trainer Ricky Vale will face a stewards’ inquiry over a cobalt positive.
Rockhampton trainer Ricky Vale will face a stewards’ inquiry over a cobalt positive.

Trainer faces cobalt inquiry

ROCKHAMPTON trainer Ricky Vale is the latest horseman to have a horse in their care return an elevated reading to the prohibited substance cobalt.

Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett yesterday said Vale would face a QRIC stewards inquiry to be scheduled next week after a positive to cobalt and dexamethasone was found in a swab taken from the Vale trained Court Clown at Rockhampton on October 11 last year.

On that day, Court Clown finished second in a 1050m Handicap, beaten narrowly by the Tony McMahon trained Paradis Imperial with Tom Button’s Mystic Forces in third.

Cobalt is an essential mineral nutrient that is toxic at high dosages and is a prohibited substance in excess of 100 micrograms per litre in urine as per the Australian rules of racing.

When contacted by The Morning Bulletin yesterday, Vale said he did not wish to comment ahead of the inquiry.

It is not the first time Vale has had to face cobalt charges.

In 2017 the trainer had four charges laid against him dropped and a 12-month disqualification lifted.

On that occasion, Vale had been found guilty by stewards of presenting three horses to race in March 2016 with cobalt levels above the legal threshold. There was a fourth charge applied for another prohibited substance found in one of those horses.

Vale was given 12 months disqualification on each charge, to be served concurrently.

The sentence was confirmed by QRIC’s internal review and QRIC was later successful in having Vale’s application for a stay of proceedings denied at QCAT.

But in August 2017, all charges against Vale were withdrawn after it was established that both the A and B samples were tested at the one facility — the Racing Science Centre.

That outcome left Queensland’s integrity officials red faced.

Numerous trainers Australia-wide have had sanctions imposed for breaches of cobalt rules since 2018.

Court Clown was a terrific horse for Vale.

A $1500 tried horse purchase, Court Clown had only won a Penola maiden in South Australia before arriving at Vale Racing in 2014.

Vale got him to win 14 more times in a career that netted $186,460 on the track.