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RV stewards' report on positive sample for Can't Refuse and Baster ride on Spring Choice
11 Sep 2017 | ThoroughbredNEWS News Desk 
Racing Victoria stewards' reported on Monday that the Kelvin Bouke trained Can't Refuse has returned a positive sample to Phenylbutazone and its metabolite Oxyphenbutazone (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) and on their inquiry into jockey Stephen Baster pulling up Spring Choice at Geelong on Friday, September 9th.

Kelvin Bourke

Racing Victoria (RV) Stewards have received a report from Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) confirming a positive swab has been provided by the Kelvin Bourke trained racehorse, Can’t Refuse.

The report relates to the pre-race blood sample and post-race urine sample taken from Can’t Refuse which ran unplaced in the Le Pine Funerals Handicap (1800 metres) at Sandown racecourse on Wednesday, 26 July 2017.

RASL reported that the samples contained Phenylbutazone and its metabolite Oxyphenbutazone (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) which are prohibited substances in accordance with the Australian Rules of Racing.

On Thursday, 31 August 2017, Stewards initially informed Mr Bourke of the irregularities.

Stewards today advised Mr Bourke of the confirmatory findings and that they are continuing their investigation.

Stephen Baster


Racing Victoria (RV) Stewards reviewed the circumstances surrounding the start of Race 4, the Prestige Jayco Maiden Plate, at Geelong on Friday, 8 September 2017. In particular, the Stewards have reviewed the actions of rider Stephen Baster who rode Spring Choice, which took no part in the event following the commencement of the race.

The Stewards have established that Strathbyrne, which was ridden by Stephanie Thornton, kicked its barrier prior to the start. Following Strathbyrne kicking the barrier, Spring Choice and several other runners lunged forward in their respective barriers. Mr Baster explained that Sprint Choice hit its head on the front of its barrier just prior to the start being effected.

Spring Choice was also in the barrier stall adjacent to Lil’ Bit Sassy which had its head turned as the start was effected. Mr Baster gave evidence to the Stewards that he heard a call to “pull ‘em up” as the start was effected. The Stewards subsequently questioned all riders in the race, the clerk of course and the starters, and Mr Baster’s evidence was unable to be corroborated. Shortly after the start of the race, Mr Baster restrained Spring Choice and his mount took no meaningful part in the race.

The Stewards accept that the circumstances surrounding the start of the race were exceptional, albeit insufficient to lead to the race being declared void or a ‘no-race’. However, after careful consideration of all the circumstances, the Stewards are not satisfied the actions of Mr Baster were culpable to a degree that warranted a charge being issued. Mr Baster and all riders will be reminded of their obligations under the provisions of AR 133 which states:

AR 133 Unless a false start has been signalled by the Starter or the official appointed for the purpose all riders shall ride their mounts so as to fulfil their obligations under AR 135(b).
 
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