Tasmania's top stayer Eastender has been sensationally scratched from Monday's $400,000 Adelaide Cup amid stewards' concerns that he may have received an illegal raceday treatment.
South Australia's chief steward John Petzer said Eastender was withdrawn under Rule 254 which deals with "injections prohibited at certain times."
“During a routine stable inspection … stewards became concerned with regard to raceday treatment practices involving Eastender," Petzer said.
“Following an interview with trainer Barry Campbell stewards deemed that the integrity of racing would be best protected if Eastender did not to start in this event.
"Stewards (therefore) declared the horse a late scratching at 10.55am under the provisions of Rule 254.
"I cannot go into details - we will open an inquiry (at a date to be fixed) which will run its course and if there is any action to be taken, it will be."
Stewards do not need proof of raceday treatment to scratch a horse - the presence in the stables on raceday of any equipment or product that may be used for treatment can be sufficient cause.
Under the rules of racing, the cut-off point for any treatment is 12am on the day before the race.
Eastender was third favourite for the Adelaide Cup after becoming the first horse in 42 years to complete the Devonport, Hobart and Launceston cups treble.
Neither Campbell or Eastender's senior part-owner Denise Martin could be contacted for comment.