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First Cobalt Positive For New Zealand
Meanwhile, the cobalt scourge that has infiltrated Australian racing in recent times has reared its ugly head in New Zealand, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Racing Integrity Unit confirmed yesterday that it had launched an investigation into the Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott-trained Quintastics, which returned a positive test to the banned substance after winning at Matamata on March 11. The integrity unit had the samples analysed in Wellington before sending them to a lab in Perth for confirmation and it has advised the training partnership that two more samples have tested positive and were currently being examined in Perth. The latter were swabs taken from Suffire after her win at Tauranga on February 5 and Sound Proposition after his third placing in the Gr1 New Zealand Derby. O'Sullivan and Scott's Wexford Stables released a statement via Facebook declaring it was "business as usual" despite the positive swab. "Unfortunately today at Wexford Stables we were advised by the RIU that one of our runners had returned a positive swab. There are two other samples with results pending," they said. "The matter of how these horses have provided irregular samples is a mystery to us and is highly upsetting to everyone involved. We will now be conducting a thorough investigation into our feeding and supplement regime but as this is an ongoing investigation we can offer no further comment at this stage." Cobalt is a naturally occurring trace element which may normally be detected in horses at very low levels from their feed. It has similar effects on humans as the banned drug EPO which is known for boosting stamina. Australian and New Zealand racing authorities have a permitted cobalt threshold of 200 micrograms per litre of urine.