Below is a copy of an email Anthony Cummings sent to me as well as several other trainers and buyers of yearlings. Anthony is raising the point that if a yearling at a stud farm is accidently or deliberately given an anabolic steroid in its time at the farm, and that yearling is sold to a trainer, then there is a big chance the trainer will not be informed about the anabolic. This puts a trainer’s licence at risk, because unbeknown to them, if a yearling progresses well and is an early two-year-old and it has been given an anabolic as a youngster, then there can still be derivatives of this anabolic a year later in the horse’s system. If a horse tests positive to an anabolic steroid in a trainers care, then that trainer can lose their licence for up to two years. This is simply not fair. And I have personal experience with this horrible situation. We have not given a steroid at Tulloch Lodge for well over ten years, but a few years ago a beaten favourite under my care was tested and had a derivative of an anabolic in its system. It cost me heavens knows how much money and even more time and effort to clear my name despite me being 100% totally in the right. It can’t be a situation of ‘buyer beware.’
Steroids are banned in racing and yearlings are the heart of our racing industry. If steroids are banned in racehorses, they should also be banned in yearlings, weanling, foals and all thoroughbreds that are destined for a life in a racing stable. Transparency is all we are asking for and I believe all buyers at all sales from the Lady Trainer, to the one horse a year buyer will agree with Anthony and yours truly on this issue. Yearlings cost a lot of money and it is a disgrace that we the licenced persons have to have our knickers on the line and risk our livelihood after paying huge amounts of money for the best yearlings in Australia. Steroids are banned in racing and should be banned in yearlings. My horrific experience of a horse testing positive after accidently being given an anabolic over 12 months before I had anything to do with it is an experience I would not wish on anyone. I completely agree with Anthony’s below thoughts.
Anthony’s email to the leading buyers in Australia
''The ARB position is extraordinary. What happens when a person buys a horse at the yearling sales that has been treated with an anabolic prior to the sales. The purchaser has no knowledge but say someone at the stud who has knowledge of the treatment bothers to call the stewards following the sale. It is swabbed, found positive to a steroid and then banned for up to 2 years. The purchaser may have had it tested at sale time but in the event that he hasn’t he has no protection. The system spits in the face of those that feed it again.
Every horse should be swabbed at the sales and the samples tested at the cost of the breeder or sale company. The results need to be available prior to the sales. People are unlikely to buy a horse in uncertain circumstances. How do you wait for a particular horse, only to find it fails the swab. You don’t get your horse, or you 2nd, 3rd, or 4th pick either. In the meantime the ARB, with now no testing, give the breeders a free kick. For those who treat their horses prior to sales they are given “one last go.” Bloody absurd.''