Commonly used supplement believed to be central to first Irish cobalt probe

POSTED ON  |  03-08-2018

Point to point race
A commonly used supplement is understood to be at the centre of an investigation into the first positive test in Irish racing for the banned substance cobalt. Warendorf, a point-to-point winner trained by Pat Kelly, the three-time Cheltenham Festival-winning handler whose Presenting Percy heads the betting for the 2019 Magners-backed Gold Cup, is at the centre of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board's probe. The five-year-old beat Burgess King, the only other finisher, by 30 lengths when winning at Belcare on March 11 and subsequently tested positive for the prohibited substance. He has since been sold to race in Britain.

Cobalt has emerged internationally as a contentious substance. It is a trace mineral found in B vitamins that exists naturally in small quantities in horses. However, similar to the well-known blood doping agent EPO, when administered in large quantities cobalt can increase red blood cells, which improves metabolic efficiency.

Last year Stephen McConville and his son Michael received three-year bans when Anseanachai Cliste tested positive for cobalt after they were found to have injected him with Hemo 15 – a cobalt-containing tonic widely used in Britain but not licensed in Ireland – on the day he was due to run in the Foxhunter at Cheltenham.

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