Rockhampton trainer Peter Fleming was fined $3000. Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times
Rockhampton trainer Peter Fleming was fined $3000. Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times Claudia Baxter

Rockhampton trainer appealing fine after QRIC inquiry

ROCKHAMPTON trainer Peter Fleming says he will appeal a $3000 fine he was issued after being found guilty of presenting a horse to race with a prohibited substance in its system.

Last week the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission finalised an inquiry which centred around a post-race urine sample taken from the Fleming-trained Text Book at Rockhampton on August 9, 2018, which contained methocarbamol.

Methocarbamol is a muscle relaxant used to treat skeletal muscle spasms, with some effect on the central nervous system.

One of its actions is to block nerve impulses (such as pain sensations) to the brain.

QRIC stewards considered submissions from Fleming's legal representative that Text Book was treated with methocarbamol to prevent it "tying up” in the week leading up to a Class 6 Plate (1400m) race at Callaghan Park which the mare won.

The stewards report states that Mr Fleming was of the opinion that he allowed a sufficient withholding period to prevent the mare returning a positive sample.

Stewards also considered written evidence from veterinarian, Dr Brad Johnstone, and apprentice jockey Thomas Doyle (indentured to Fleming).

After considering submissions in defence of the charge, and documentation regarding the sample, the stewards panel found Fleming guilty.

When considering the penalty, stewards took into account that Fleming had one previous breach in 2005 for the relevant rule.

Stewards also considered the need for a penalty to serve as a necessary deterrent, not only to Mr Fleming, but to the wider industry, and to illustrate the "negative impact breaches of this kind have on the image of the sport”.

Under the rules of racing, Text Book was disqualified from the August 9 race and Mackay trainer John Manzelmann's Mr Boxvale was subsequently promoted to first.

Clinton Thompson's Malkara was elevated to second place, Zoe Hohn's No Effort Needed to third, and Jason Devine's Swingahinch to fourth.

Stewards advised Fleming of his right to an internal review into the decision.

When contacted by The Morning Bulletin yesterday, Fleming said he would appeal but did not wish to make any further comment.

Fleming will be hoping for a change of fortune when he saddles up three-year-old gelding Done Us Proud in the opening race at Callaghan Park today.

Today's Newmarket program is the first of two big days of racing culminating with the running of the 2019 Rockhampton Cup (1600m) tomorrow.

The Cup is expected to see a capacity field of 16 runners start, with total prize money on this year's feature race $150,000, up from $100,000 last year.

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