Media Release - Greyhound Morphine Investigation

posted Mar 23, 2015, 6:15 PM by Gabriella Fleming   [ updated Mar 23, 2015, 6:15 PM ]
The RIU has completed its investigation into the multiple morphine positives in Greyhound racing over the past three months.

The cause of the positives, as noted in a previous release, was the Greyhound feed “hypro premium Premium Greyhound Racer”. 

The New Zealand Racing Laboratory carried out exhaustive tests from samples supplied from the trainers properties and by the New Zealand distributors. All samples tested positive to morphine.

After becoming aware of the problem the manufacturer and distributor have been very supportive and proactive. They have advised the RIU that they have withdrawn the product from sale and offered refunds to Greyhound trainers who have purchased the product. The manufacturer has indicated verbally that in future they will test any batches for morphine before sending them to New Zealand. 

The situation can be summarised as follows:-
 • The product is a basic feed produced by a reputable Australian company.
 • It is not a supplement and it is not advertised as improving the performance of greyhounds as the product Canine EPO was two years ago. 
 • It has been sold on the New Zealand market for the past two and a half years and on the Australian market for longer without any previous issues. 
 • Trainers have therefore been using it for some time on the expectation that it did not contain any prohibited substances. 

In similar circumstances of feed contamination in Australia the approach has been to disqualify the animal but not charge the trainer. After considering all the circumstances the RIU determined that the appropriate course of action is to request a ruling from the JCA to have the dogs disqualified, with any stake monies paid out returned, but the trainers involved, W and T Steele, A Lawrence, and J Black and A Steele should not receive any penalty as the investigation has determined that the trainer’s actions had been neither complicit nor negligent in supplying the contaminated feed to their dogs. 

In the case of one of the trainers, Mr Lawrence, where his case has already been heard the RIU have appealed the decision. In the light of this new evidence the RIU will be requesting the JCA, quash the previous decision to fine Mr Lawrence. This decision is in line with international practice and previous RIU decisions in relation to the arsenic and syncrofen positives in 2012 and 2013 respectively. 

The RIU would record that the trainers were all extremely helpful and professional throughout the investigation and the result should not reflect on their professional reputations. 

Any further information please contact Mike Godber, General Manager 0274744381