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High Cobalt Tests For Souloy Horses

Published: September 12, 2016 12:23 pm ET

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Fabrice Souloy, trainer of 2014 Breeders Crown Open Trot winner Commander Crowe and several other international stars, has had four horses confirmed with extremely high tests for cobalt.

Souloy's horse Your Highness had a cobalt level of 395 when she competed in this year's Oslo Grand Prix and defeated Nuncio, whose level was just 1.22.

According to a report late last week by harnessracing.com, a Norwegian trotting website had broken the news of the cobalt positives on Thursday night. Then, on Friday morning, the Swedish Trotting Association confirmed the positive tests for Souloy's horses – Un Mec d'Heripre, Your Highness and Lionel. Un Mec d'Heripre won an elimination for the Elitlopp over Nuncio and then finished third in the final, which was won by Nuncio. Your Highness, a daughter of Chocolatier, won the Oslo Grand Prix over Nuncio.

In addition, Timone EK, who won a feature race at Bjerjke the same day as the Oslo Grand Prix, had a cobalt level of 271. He too was trained by Souloy.

Swedish trotting official Johan Lindberg told the media the first positive test for cobalt came from Lionel in the sample taken from the horse when he competed in the Oslo Grand Prix. Lindberg said Lionel's positive was the "reason we went back and checked the other horses during the day, too."

Lindberg said cobalt is not a part of the normal testing conducted by the National Veterinary Institute in Sweden.

Stefan Melander, the trainer and owner of Nuncio, has now picked up an additional two wins – and approximately $90,000 in purses – due to the situation.

Swedish trotting officials said that Souloy has been suspended indefinitely in Sweden and other European trotting authorities will be notified. Purse money must also be returned. Further penalties will be reviewed.

The limits for cobalt are the same for all of the major European trotting countries: 100 nanograms per milliliter in urine and 25 nanograms per milliliter in plasma/blood. In the US, the limit established by the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium (RMTC) is 25 in plasma/blood.

"Importantly, the 25 ppb (parts per billion) total cobalt threshold in blood is comparable to the 100-200 ppb thresholds in urine being administered internationally," noted RMTC chairman Dr. Rick Arthur in making the announcement last March.

Dr. George Maylin at New York's Morrisville lab, has conducted testing on cobalt and suggested the level for calling a positive be 75 ppb, but his work, sponsored by the U.S. Trotting Association, has not yet been made public.

The positive European tests, which were reportedly confirmed by a French laboratory, are as follows:

Un Mec d'Heripre – prior to Elitlopp elimination—400; prior to Elitlopp final—371; prior to Oslo Grand Prix—521

Your Highness – prior to Oslo Grand Prix—395

Lionel – prior to Oslo Grand Prix-468

(With files from harnessracing.com)


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