All 59 horses, stabled at trainer Pesi Shroff's Mahalaxmi racecourse yard, that were tested by the Royal Western India Turf Club Club (RWITC) in a surprise check on March 15, have returned negative. No banned substances, anabolic steroids or sex hormones were found in any of the horses.
"Today, we have received the results of all 59 horses in the charge of Trainer Shroff and all are NEGATIVE [sic] for the presence of Anabolic Steroids and Sex Hormones," wrote Riyaz Khan, stipendiary steward of the club, in a mail to the RWITC stewards yesterday, the copy of which is in mid-day's possession.
"What else did you expect?," Shroff asked mid-day when he was contacted for a reaction, "we don't do anything wrong, so if a positive comes, it has to either come from some inadvertent source, or then it's a clear case of someone trying to fix us."
The surprise check was ordered by the stewards of the RWITC after holding Shroff guilty of vicarious liability for his filly Bullseye when she tested positive for boldenone after returning from her owner KN Dhunjibhoy's Nanoli stud farm in December last year. The trainer was awarded nine months' suspension in a meeting held on March 14; and in an unprecedented move that sent shock waves through the racing world, all the 59 horses stationed in the Shroff yard were subjected to sampling the next day.
"The stewards' job is to ensure that this sport is free from any scandal," KN Dhunjibhoy, who had termed decision of suspending his trainer as "prejudiced" and "perverse", told mid-day yesterday after learning of the negative findings, "sadly, what we find here is that they are so blinded by prejudice and ego, that they actually don't mind even manufacturing scandals to target innocent professionals."
"You know what?", a fuming Dhunjibhoy further added, "my strainer (Shroff) should have got the official order within two days of the sentencing -- it's two weeks already, and they are yet to serve him the order."
When contacted yesterday evening, senior stipendiary steward Pradyuman Singh said, "It's true that the order has been sent only today, but the delay was procedural as the stewards first need to approve the minutes of the meeting in which the punishment was pronounced."
The Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) has lined up a bumper ten-race card for tomorrow (Sunday, March 30) at the Mahalaxmi racecourse. The highlight will be the Tata Housing Mahalaxmi 130 Years Anniversary Turf Championship, a special race framed to celebrate 130 years of the existence of the Mahalaxmi racecourse.
To make the occasion memorable for racegoers as well as the common Mumbaikars, the club has announced a super jackpot pool that is likely to cross the Rs 130-lakh mark (Rs 1.3 crore) thanks to addition of a record Rs 75 lakh to the pool. One super jackpot ticket costs only Rs 5, and the winning combination will have to correctly nominate winners of six designated races on the card: the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th & 10th. Make sure you buy your tickets well before 3.45 pm on Sunday, when the first leg of the rich pool kick off.