Darren Symons.
Darren Symons. Contributed

Darren Symons faces ban for use of prohibited drug on horses

MACKAY racehorse trainer Darren Symons has been disqualified from racing for 12 months by Townsville racing stewards over the finding of a prohibited substance in a urine swab.

Symons' Townsville winner from July 24 named Showmethemoney returning a finding upon urine analysis to the prohibited substance ethacrynic acid.

Often described as a "water pill", ethacrynic acid is listed as a powerful diuretic drug used in the treatment of fluid retention.

It assists in this way with the heart, liver and kidneys.

While pleading guilty to the stewards' charge of presenting Showmethemoney to race that day with a prohibed substance being contained, Symons denied administering any such substance.

In assessing penalty chief steward Sam Woolaston said stewards considered Symons had a poor record in regard to breaching the Australian Racing Rule in question - 178G.

"Mr Symons has breached this rule on numerous occasions despite only having a trainers licence for four years", Woolaston said.

In fact Symons, a high profile player at times in Rockhampton racing, had previous convictions in 2012 and as most recently as February this year.

The record reveals that in 2012 Symons was fined $4000 each for three separate swab findings.

In February 2014, he was disqualified for three months and had an $8000 fine also imposed.

Woolaston said prior to outing Symons for a year, stewards were mindful of penalty precedents for similar repeat offenders under AR178.

"This has a detrimental effect (continued breaches) on the racing industry and requires a significant penalty to act as a deterrent. Therefore in considering these factors Mr Symons was disqualified from October 13, 2014 until midnight October 13, 2015", Woolaston announced.

As such Showmethemoney was disqualified from the win in a minor event on Townsville Cup Day with the race awarded to Castle Express.

Thereby the winning connections of Showmethemoney will forfeit the first prizemoney of $12,000.

Just last Saturday, the Bill Kenning trained Castle Express won the $20,000 Emerald 100.

Meanwhile, the Australian racing industry still shell-shocked by the death of Rockhampton jockey Carly-Mae Pye on Tuesday now anxiously awaits the fate of two other female jockeys.

At Murray Bridge races in South Australia yesterday WEDNESDAY, jockey Caitlin Forrest was airlifted to Royal Adelaide Hospital with serious head injuries.

Another jockey Libby Hopwood was admitted to a local hospital also suffering from head injuries.

They were involved in a four horse race fall.

Carly-Mae Pye became the third female jockey killed in an Australian horse racing accident in just over 14 months.



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