Gai Waterhouse has backed a proposal by fellow NSW trainer Anthony Cummings for all yearlings to be tested for anabolic steroids before being offered for sale at public auction.
Cummings, the Chairman of the NSW Trainers Association, has circulated an email to a number of leading purchasers of yearlings in a bid to drum up support as he calls on the Australian Racing Board to take steps to protect buyers by testing every horse and making those results available prior to a given sale.
He called the current state of affairs “extraordinary” and claims it does not take enough steps to protect those upon whom it depends to remain viable.
“What happens when a person buys a horse at the yearling sale that has been treated with an anabolic prior to the sales?” Cummings said. “The purchaser has no knowledge but say someone at the stud who has knowledge of the treatment calls the stewards following the sale. The horse is swabbed, found positive to a steroid and then banned for up to two years.
“The purchaser may have had the horse tested at sale time but in the event that it wasn’t there is no protection. The system spits in the face of those that feed it again.”
Waterhouse has positioned herself squarely with Cummings.
“If a horse tests positive to an anabolic steroid in a trainers care, then that trainer can lose their licence for up to two years. This is simply not fair.
“I have personal experience with this horrible situation. We have not given a steroid at Tulloch Lodge for well over ten years but a few years ago a beaten favourite under my care was tested and had a derivative of an anabolic in its system.
“It cost me heavens knows how much money and even more time and effort to clear my name despite me being 100 per cent, totally in the right. It can’t be a situation of ‘buyer beware’.
“Yearlings cost a lot of money and it is a disgrace that we, the licensed persons, have to have our knickers on the line and risk our livelihood after paying huge amounts of money for the best yearlings in Australia. Steroids are banned in racing and should be banned in yearlings.”