Harness Briefs


Hale fined over cobalt positive

Canterbury trainer Stephen Hale has been fined $4,500 by the Judicial Control Authority after a horse he trains returned a post-race swab with an elevated cobalt level.

Matau Gem ran second at Timaru on May 13 and subsequently returned a cobalt reading of 120 micrograms per litre, above the Harness Racing New Zealand-set threshold of 100.

The source of the reading was determined to be a salt lick Hale had given the mare, one which clearly stated cobalt’s presence on the packaging.

Hale admitted the breach, and in response to the Racing Integrity Unit’s submission requesting a $5000 fine, said he believed it was manifestly disproportionate to other recent fees for the same substance at much higher levels.

Various factors were taken in to account as both aggravating and mitigating and, after starting at $8,000, the JCA applied deductions to ultimately settle on $4,500 plus a minor amount of costs.

Matau Gem was disqualified from second, With The Band ultimately promoted to that position.

Passing of Monty Baker

The death occurred last Sunday of longtime Auckland breeder, owner and administrator, Monty Baker, aged 84.

Baker was best known as the founder of the now-defunct Manukau Trotting Club and was its President for more than 30 years.

He was also a Life Member of the Auckland Trotting Club and heavily involved with the Caduceus Club of Auckland, of which he was the first President.

In 2013, Baker was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for services to both harness racing and the Jewish community.

As an owner he raced many top horses, including Kliklite, Maheer Lord, Directorship, Insutcha, Sogo and last season’s New Zealand Cup place-getter, Jack’s Legend.

Casey buys in to NZ Cup hope

It seems Christchurch businessman Trevor Casey has developed an appetite for the New Zealand Cup.

He’s won it the last two years with champion pacer Lazarus and will now have a strong show of making it three in a row.

Casey has purchased an interest in last season’s Messenger Championship and 4YO Emerald winner, Eamon Maguire, who is currently listed at $11 for this year’s Cup.

He has bought the share previously held by Mosgiel’s Brian Sceats.

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