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DHPC: Raynor ‘got it wrong’

Driving Horse and Pony Club (DHPC) have hit back at claims made by harness racing enthusiast Ricky Raynor.

In an interview with

The Royal Gazette earlier this week Raynor insisted that he had produced the necessary documentation authorising his son to race a horse to which he had administered the banned drug phenylbutazone (Bute) in the lead-up to race day.

Even though Bute is classified as a banned substance, drivers are permitted to use the anti-inflammatory drug providing they produce a veterinarian’s certificate on the actual day of racing, something one DHPC committee member, who spoke under condition of anonymity, claims Raynor simply did not do.

“Mr Raynor produced that certificate after the pony was deemed to have failed the test, which is null and void,” the DHPC source said. “You cannot come after the fact with a certificate and that is why the ban was imposed.”

Harness drivers are required to present a veterinarian’s certificate authorising them to use Bute during the mandatory driver’s meeting prior to the start of race day at the track.

Pony owners or caretakers must be present during random blood tests throughout the season which are sent overseas for analysis and then returned.

Raynor’s son Rickai was fined $500 and banned for five race days after the horse his father had leased from Cleveland Maybury tested positive for Bute towards the end of last season. Maybury’s nine-year old horse has also been banned from racing at Vesey Street for five races.

The DHPC’s anti-drug policy, that governs both pony and driver, has been in place for a number of years to encourage a “free-drug spirit” at the track.

“When it comes to the pony there are some medicines that people have learned to use that can enhance a pony’s performance and so those things are banned as well as things like Bute, which is like an aspirin,” the DHPC source added. “If your pony is sore then nine times out of ten a person would not race their pony because they would let it heal.

“Sometimes it’s just a leg bruise and so it’s not bothering their running and so we have guidelines for that. But if you do have your pony on Bute and still want to race your pony on race day you must show up with your pony as well as a veterinarian’s certificate because you cannot buy Bute over the counter because it has to be prescribed by a veterinarian.

“This is when you make the veterinarian aware that you intend to race the pony on that weekend and ask for a certificate to accompany that pony to the track.”

As well as rebutting Raynor’s claims he had produced the necessary documents to race, the DHPC source denied Raynor’s claims of racism.

The DHPC source said nothing could be further from the truth. “There are no exceptions and so it’s hard to put a prejudice label on that. Blacks have been in this sport since its inception and we have quite a few blacks down that track racing so therefore I can’t say that there is racism in the sport.”

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Published September 16, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated September 16, 2011 at 9:55 am)

DHPC: Raynor ‘got it wrong’

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