The Racing Appeal Board has taken a swipe at Tasracing as it quashed a $2500 positive swab fine imposed on Spreyton trainer Leanne Gaffney.
The Gaffney-trained Tessie tested positive to arsenic after winning at Spreyton on July 26 last year and was subsequently disqualified.
Her connections forfeited $10,625 in prizemoney.
Stewards accepted Gaffney's explanation that the arsenic finding was the result of Tessie chewing treated pine fencing.
But, as is standard practice, they found her guilty of presenting a horse to race when not free of all prohibited substances.
The trainer lodged an appeal against her conviction, which she later withdrew, but went ahead with an appeal against the $2500 fine, submitting that no penalty was warranted in the circumstances.
Tessie was stabled at Tasracing's Spreyton complex in a yard originally constructed of steel posts and electric fencing.
However the Appeal Board heard that about October 2019 Tasracing had organised for new fencing to be constructed from treated pine.
Never, not once, did I think they would put me in that position- Trainer Leanne Gaffney
Tessie had immediately started chewing the timber but Gaffney said she had no reason to think Tasracing would have used materials containing arsenic.
"Never, not once, did I think they would put me in that position," she told stewards.
In its summary of evidence, the Appeal Board noted that at one stage Gaffney also told stewards she believed Tasracing had "failed in its duty of care towards her."
The board did not reference that claim in its findings but stated that the trainer's degree of culpability was "extremely low".
It said there was no evidence Gaffney had been advised that arsenic-containing treated pine was being used.
The board quashed the fine but imposed a reprimand "to send a message to the industry that trainers cannot be complacent."
In its finding, the board was quite damning in its assessment of Tasracing's role in the case.
"Given the level of notice that it has provided to the industry as a whole, it raises the question why Tasracing would even consider constructing yards at its own facility made of arsenic-containing substances," the finding said.
The board concluded that Gaffney's expectation that Tasracing would use materials that did not contain arsenic was not unreasonable.
The Office of Racing Integrity's inquiry into the Tasmania Cup is still about three weeks away.
ORI acting director Tony Latham said it was hoped to finalise a date soon.
He said it would depend on the availability of Ray Murrihy, who will come from NSW to chair the inquiry, the other stewards and winning trainer John Nicholson.
The inquiry will focus on whether ORI should invoke Rule AHRR 174 that gives it the power to alter the result of a race if a driver is found guilty of an offence.
The driver of Tasmania Cup winner Bullys Delight, Rhys Nicholson, was found guilty of illegal whip use and 'hocking'. He was fined $3200 and suspended for 12 meetings.
Rule AHRR 174 does not give stewards the power to alter the result of a race for betting purposes and two protests against the winner were dismissed.
Chief steward Steve Shinn, who was in charge of the Tasmania Cup meeting, has been on holidays but will be back for the Easter Cup on Saturday night.
Still A Star is likely to have a new rider for the $160,000 Victoria Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Connections had been hoping to get Luke Currie but he expects to be required for the Tony McEvoy runner Pretty Brazen.
Brendan McCoull, who has ridden the mare at her past seven starts, won't be able to make the weight.
Several Victoria jockeys are chasing the ride.
The race has attracted a strong field but not as strong as Still A Star's last assignment in the All-Star Mile.
Trainer Bill Ryan has also nominated the four-year-old for a benchmark 90 race over 1600m but is reluctant to run her with 60.5kg.
Fellow Tasmanian War Correspondent is entered for Saturday's $135,000 SuperVobis 3YO over 1100m.
With a rating of 81, the Glenn Stevenson-trained gelding will be topweight with 60kg. He won with 57.5kg at Moonee Valley 11 days ago.
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