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Takeover Travel Drug Now Snares HK Feature Winner
Meanwhile in a major case of deja vu for Hong Kong officials, Crown's Master (the Macau-trained hero of both this season's interport friendship races) "has returned a positive test after the Hong Kong leg 9 days ago," revealed scmp.com. A post-race blood sample taken from Crown's Master was found to contain the banned 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone hexanoate (the same substance that forced the headline-hogging withdrawal of Australian sprinter Takeover Target from the Gr1 Hong Kong Sprint in December). Crown's Master trainer Joe Lau (who has won 4 of the 8 races staged since the Hong Kong-Macau interport features were introduced in 2004) declared he was "shocked at the finding" & noted (again in a repeat of Takeover Target trainer Joe Janiak's defence): "Crown's Master was treated with this substance by the veterinary department here at the Macau Jockey Club around 2 months ago. They told me it would assist his recovery (from travel) & it would fully clear the system in 2 weeks. As you can imagine, this is very upsetting. I have done everything right, taken the best professional advice & the HK race was run 2 months after the vet treated the horse: that is 3-times longer than the recommended withholding period." Crown's Master also won the Macau leg of the series on April 1 (subsequent to the treatment in question) but the Macau Jockey Club "did not notify any irregularities from the gelding's post-race swab samples". HK Jockey Club chief steward Jamie Stier confirmed Crown's Master had been subjected to a pre-race urine screening when he arrived in HK, which proved negative. But he added: "We know, however, 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone hexanoate does not show up in urine, only in blood."