Cobalt landmark: Rebecca Bastiman fined and father Robin banned for failed test

Trainer Rebecca Bastiman has been fined £5,000 in a landmark case in Britain regarding the use of cobalt in horses. Her father, former trainer Robin, has been disqualified for three years.

Rebecca Bastiman admitted breaches of rules (G)2.1, (C)37 and (C)13 relating to her ultimate responsibility as trainer of John Caesar, who tested above the legal threshold for cobalt at Wolverhampton on April 8, 2016.

However, crucially she was found to be not in breach of rule (G)2.5, administering the substance, which Robin Bastiman admitted to at last week's hearing.

The Bastimans were charged following retrospective testing for cobalt, a substance that acts to increase red blood cells in horses.

Last week, Robin Bastiman, best known for his handling of dual Nunthorpe Stakes winner Borderlescott, admitted that he regularly gave vitamin B12, a cobalt-containing supplement, to his horses, including John Caesar. He attested to have no knowledge that B12 contained cobalt.

The BHA's chief regulatory officer, Brant Dunshea, said after the sentences were announced on Tuesday: "This case illustrates how the use of storing and retrospectively testing samples is an effective method for detecting and deterring the use of prohibited substances in British horseracing, as has been seen in other sports.

"It sends a clear message for anyone who feels they can evade detection by using substances or methods which they believe are currently not detectable or tested for. We are storing significant numbers of samples every year and we are committed to returning to those samples as new testing methods and techniques are developed."

The official BHA report on the hearing:

Rebecca Bastiman, Robin Bastiman

After a two-day hearing the Disciplinary Panel found Mr Robin Bastiman, former trainer, to be in breach of Rule (G)2.5 of the Rules in relation to the administration of a prohibited substance on raceday, namely Cobalt, to the horse JOHN CAESAR (IRE) on 8 April 2016.

Bearing in mind all the evidence which emerged during the hearing, the Panel decided that the appropriate penalty for that breach was disqualification for three (3) years.

Miss Rebecca Bastiman, the trainer, faced a similar allegation in relation to an alleged breach of Rule (G)2.5.  The Panel could not be satisfied of the required standard that that allegation was made out and that charge was dismissed.

In relation of the other allegations concerning Rule (G) 2.1 (presence of a prohibited substance in a horse’s sample on raceday), Rule (C)37 (allowing a horse to run on a race when the horse did not comply with the requirements of Schedule (B)3, namely that the horse had been administered a substance other than normal feed and water on raceday) and Rule (C)13 (failing to record administration of treatments in the NTF Medication Record, Miss Bastiman acknowledged that she was in breach of those Rules and was fined £2,000 in respect of the breach of Rule (G)2.1, £2,000 in respect of the breach of Rule (C)37 and £1,000 in respect of Rule (C)13, making a total fine of £5,000.

JOHN CAESAR (IRE) was disqualified and the usual directions as to prize money and other rewards were made.

The Panel for the Hearing was: David Fish QC (Chair), John Dyer and Steve Winfield.

Additional reporting ThoroughbredNEWS News Desk