Pune monsoon racing season: Two more horses test positive for steroids

Pune: With barely five days to go before the Pune monsoon racing season gets underway, the racing world was jolted by the news that wards of two more trainers, Bezan Chenoy and Magansingh Jodha, have tested positive for anabolic steroids. In a round of random sampling, Disraeli, an unraced three-year-old from trainer Chenoy’s stables, tested positive for boldenone, while four-year-old Dazzle N Daze from Jodha’s yard returned positive for testosterone.

“This is extremely disturbing,” KN Dhunjibhoy, current chairman of the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC), told
mid-day over the phone, “I don’t wish to prejudice the inquiry, but as chairman, I am going to strongly recommend putting in place a proper system of through and scientific investigation to ensure that while the guilty must not be spared, the trainers must get a fair chance to establish their innocence if they uncover any mitigating circumstances.

After all, both these professionals have been around for a long time, and have a reputation to live up to.”

Both boldenone and testosterone are anabolic steroids that are banned for use on horses. Boldenone, especially, has consistently been in the news since December 2010 when three top class horses owned by high profile owners and trained by three prominent Mumbai trainers -- Cooji Katrak, Pesi Shroff and SK Sunderji -- tested positive for the same. The source, however, was later traced to the feed supplement which the trainers had procured from an approved vendor of the turf club. Boldenone again hit the headlines when Shroff’s filly Bullseye tested positive during a routine test conducted on her after she returned from her owner’s stud farm in November 2013, and Shroff made a sensational allegation of conspiracy in January 2014, and lodged a complaint against unknown perpetrators with the crime branch of the Mumbai police. The case was investigated by inspector Ajay Sawant who filed a closure report two months ago, making clear the crime had taken place but the evidence was not conclusive enough to frame charges against the suspects.

Shroff fights on
Shroff, champion trainer at both Mumbai and Pune, however continues his fight to clear his name even as he is presently staring at a five-month suspension, along with trainer Mansingh Jadha whose yard was situated next to his yard at Mahalaxmi, on account of both their horses testing positive for banned drug Venlaflaxine during the last Mumbai season. Their appeal against the suspension is expected to come up for hearing in September.

Jodha shocked
When contacted for reaction, trainer Magansingh Jodha said he was shocked by the finding. “In my 25-year career, no horse of mine has tested positive except one, and that case was traced to the treatment the horse had received in a hospital,” Jodha told mid-day, “I am sure there must be a scientific explanation for this as testosterone is also produced naturally, and Dazzle N Daze is a gelding. I hope to find out the reason as I will be conducting my own investigation into the matter.” Trainer Bezan Chenoy was not available for comment.

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