Verdict zaps trainer

EMERALD trainer Tony Button and his partner, jockey-trainer Glenda Bell, were in "shock'' last night after being disqualified for a year over a novelty battery charged toy biro owned by their son Guy.

In an inquiry which lasted seven and a half hours, Queensland Racing's chief investigator Wayne Wood had recommended to the panel of four stewards hearing the case that the pair be disqualified from racing for five years.

During the hearing, chief steward Steve Rowe allowed Guy, 13, to give evidence in relation to his use of the novelty black and silver pen bought for $21 at a Gold Coast nov- elty store in January.

"I use it to zap people with and play tricks on them,'' Guy said.

During a visit to the Emerald stables shared by Button and Bell on April 25, Queensland Racing's investigator Bevan Turner located the pen on top of a fridge.

"I picked the biro up and clicked the black top portion down and got an electric shock through my right thumb and arm,'' Turner said.

Investigators provided evidence from a Dr Walker of the University of Queensland testing facility that the biro shock an animal.

Rowe charged Button and Bell with having in their possession the biro deemed an electrical apparatus capable of affecting a horse in a gallop or race.

Button responded by declaring the charge was an "absolute joke''.

"I am definitely not guilty. If I am to hang for a biro we are in trouble in racing,'' he said.

Glenda Bell broke down crying.

"I've been in the game for 31 years and to be charged over a kid's biro and toy is a joke and a shock,'' she said.

Rowe responded, "we don't see it as a joke as it (biro) has a current to it''.

As well as his disqualification, Button was fined $1000 for having unlabelled vitamin drenches as well as a product he used on horse's legs for joint problems when they were spelled from racing.

Button and Bell will not appeal the verdict.

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