GWIC Abort EPO Swab Charge

THE Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission (GWIC) has sensationally withdrawn the interim-suspension order placed on NSW trainer Tim Caines.

Adam Dobbin

14 January 2020

THE Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission (GWIC) has withdrawn the interim-suspension order placed on trainer Tim Caines.

Only six weeks back, the commission placed Caines on interim-suspension after the ‘A’ sample of an out-of-competition swab taken from Nangar Jack during the Million Dollar Chase carnival returned positive to recombinant human erythropoietin, otherwise known as EPO.

The out-of-competition test, taken on October 6, was five days out from Nangar Jack’s semi-final engagement in which he finished second to eventual series winner Good Odds Harada.

A week later, Nangar Jack brilliantly won the $25,000 to-the-winner Million Dollar Chase consolation, with in-competition swabs from both races proving to be negative.

In a sensational twist late last week however, GWIC were left with no option but to abort pursuing the matter further after the UK laboratory testing the ‘B’ sample determined the findings to be inconsistent with the ‘A’ sample, therefore failing to certify the validity of the results.

“The Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission has confirmed that the interim suspension imposed on greyhound trainer, Tim Caines, in December 2019 has been lifted,” said a GWIC spokesperson.

“The Commission had imposed an interim suspension on Mr Caines after receiving a certificate of analysis from an independent laboratory which detected recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) in a swab sample taken from ‘Nangar Jack’ during the Commission’s out-of-competition swabbing program for the Million Dollar Chase series.

“EPO is a permanently banned prohibited substance and if detected and proven, constitutes an extremely serious breach of the Greyhound Racing Rules.

“The Commission’s role is to protect the ongoing integrity of the greyhound racing industry in NSW. For this reason the Commission will apply interim suspensions where, as in this case evidence was presented to it that EPO, which is a permanently banned prohibited substance, had been detected in a swab.

“The Commission decided to interim suspend Mr Caines whilst awaiting a second analysis of the same sample from another laboratory. That further analysis did not confirm the presence of EPO.”

The swab result now sees Caines exonerated from any charges in relation to EPO, however in recent days GWIC moved to investigate Caines on more minor offences, understood to be the discovery of legacy products at the family’s place of residence.

“Whilst Mr Caines is no longer under an interim suspension as a result of the EPO matter, the Commission is still conducting an investigation into other matters that came to the Commission’s attention during an inspection at Mr Caines’ kennels on 6 December 2019,” the spokesperson said.

“As this investigation is ongoing the Commission will not be making any further comment at this stage.”

Nangar Jack’s out-of-competition test during the Million Dollar Chase carnival was one of 362 swabs taken.   

Facing the daunting prospect of a long disqualification with a guilty finding, Caines is now free to return to the training ranks immediately, pending the outcome of the inquiry.

Through these troubling times, Caines has been buoyed by the unwavering support of Nangar Jack’s owner Neville Brown, who spoke candidly with the Recorder this week.

“I think the first thing I want to say is that as far as I’ve been concerned, GWIC have been quite helpful and forthright in dealing with the matter,” Brown said.

“But the big thing here in this whole mess is that the system is flawed. Here you have a young kid, with a wife, a newborn child and a mortgage that’s been severely punished before there was any proper evidence to convict him.

“In the last six weeks, he’s lost all his dogs, had his name dragged through the mud, been suffering endless trauma, and at the end of it all has been proven innocent.

“I’ve known Timmy since he was a kid, had lots to do with him, and it’s been terrible to see what he and his family have been put through the last six weeks. It’s been hell.”

With an inquiry still underway, Brown urged industry power-brokers to revisit how these issues are dealt with in the future.

“I’m not sure what the perfect answer is but what we’ve got at the moment isn’t it – it’s flawed,” Brown said.

“Whether they keep the results sealed until they have all the information, withhold prize money, there’s a number of options but the court of public opinion cruelled poor Tim before he even had a chance to defend himself.

“A while back he (Tim) wrote a letter to GWIC pleading to be able to continue until the ‘B’ sample returned. Greyhound racing is his life and this ordeal has had a huge impact on his physical and mental health. The way he’s been treated; it’s just not good enough.”