Inquiry opened after Rob Heathcote runners scratched

Queensland stewards have opened an inquiry into the possession and possible use of a banned substance at the stables of one of Brisbane’s top trainers.

Leading Queensland trainer Robert Heathcote is at the centre of a stewards’ inquiry into the possession and administration of the banned substance Hemoplex.

The substance, which contains cobalt salts, was found on Saturday morning during a routine inspection of Heathcote’s Eagle Farm stables.

Stewards moved to immediately order the scratching of all his runners from Saturday’s Doomben meeting, including top filly Startantes and Prince Of Boom from the Listed Mick Dittman Plate (1110m).

The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) later released a statement confirming they had opened an inquiry and that Hemoplex had been a banned substance since May last year.

“Racing Australia’s view is that there is no place for injectable supplements containing cobalt salts in racing when there is no therapeutic rationale for their use,” QRIC said in the statement.

“Stewards will allege that an examination of the stable’s treatment book indicated that Mr Heathcote’s runners set to race at Doomben today, Crymenotears, Prince Of Boom, Startantes and Starvirgo had received an injection of a product containing cobalt salts on 16 April 2022.”

Samples have been taken from all four gallopers for analysis and an inquiry adjourned to a date yet to be decided.

Heathcote told he had been using Hemoplex on veterinary advice for more than 25 years and did not realise it had been added to the banned substances list.

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