There appears to be a marked anomaly in the Australian Rules of Racing that created an opening for a smart lawyer to try to steer through, and given the number of quite high profile cases in the area queued up on appeal, it one of the legal eagles has a go at shooting the gap, it could create some major problems for the Queensland racing authorities, particularly if a Supreme Court Judge gives them the run.
I strongly suspect that either Ben Currie’s counsel or the Alligator’s may well have a crack.
I certainly would.
What I’m talking about here is the contradiction between rules AR.240(1) and rule AR.259(12).
Allow me to explain.
Rule AR.240.1 decrees that if a horse throws a positive swab to a banned substance after a race, it must be disqualified from that race that it contested.
IT HAS TO BE DISQUALIFIED.
No ifs, no buts, if you throw a positive you’re scratched, and you get no dough.
This is the rule that has cost Currie’s owners quite a bit of cash, and Alligator Blood’s a whole lot more, $1.125 million to be precise.
Now, this is rule 259(12).
It says that if a horse throws a positive from a test conducted by the lab on a stored sample, it DOESN’T HAVE TO BE DISQUALIFIED from the race it contested.
It’s up to the Stewards whether they want to scratch it or nor.
How does that work?
Aren’t all samples taken by the Stewards stored?
Here’s how the rules define a stored sample, as:
samples or portions of a sample stored and/or retained, including for future
analysis for purposes consistent with the Rules
Stored for how long?
The time between when the sample is taken, and when it is stored for transport to the Steward in charge?
The time it takes the Steward to walk from the collection point to their car?
The time it takes them to drive the car from the track back to the office?
The time it takes someone to shoot the samples over from the office to the racing lab?
The time the racing lab takes from when it whacks the sample in the fridge, to the time it actually tests it?
Are you starting to get my gist?
ALL samples are tested and retained.
Every single one of them.
And the rules draw no actual distinction between a stored sample or any other.
So how come then one rule says that a horse like Eight Over or the Alligator MUST be disqualified from the race it won, and the other rule says that it MIGHT BE disqualified, if the Stewards decide it should?
It’s a bit of a problem for the QRIC isn’t it?
Laws that contradict each other tend to be declared invalid in the Cox Plate level courts, even if the Class 6 adjudicators in the Statutory Bodies and Tribunals declare one of them as good over the other.
Ben Currie has already demonstrated that he is prepared to challenge his persecution in the Superior Courts, and is showing no signs of stopping.
And the Alligator’s owner Shifty Allan E is a master of the Supreme Court loophole challenge art, and has vocally declared that he will be putting on a prize show in honour of beloved boy come hell or high water.
In both Currie and Shifty Allan E’s corner are two of the best fight trainers and racing legal teams in the business, Mocka O’Connor and the Magic Man Murdoch QC in the red corner, and A-Grade footy player turned gun Gadens Super A-Grade sports lawyer Tim Lawyer and the former Solicitor-General and legal wunderkind Peter Dunning SC in the blue.
Imagine how hard the punches would be if they joined forces and employed a tandem strategy?
And out there lonely and alone with the big boys staring at him from both sides is poor old Wayne Kelly, the sworn copper with the law degree who has been the long-time water boy for the QRIC Commissioner Ross Barnett, and his team of mostly inexperienced junior lawyers.
I know who I’d back in the push and shove run to the line, and it ain’t the QRIC fighters that’s for sure.
This could get very interesting.
Sit down, buckle in, and enjoy the ride.
I will be.