Trainer Gordon Yorke

Photo: Trevor Veale / Coffs Coast Advocate
Trainer Gordon Yorke Photo: Trevor Veale / Coffs Coast Advocate Trevor Veale

'Devastated' Yorke vows to fight 18-month disqualification

RACING: Grafton horse trainer Gordon Yorke has vowed to take on the industry he believes has lost all integrity after he was disqualified from racing for 18 months earlier this week.

During a hearing at the Racing NSW offices this week, Yorke was found guilty of a charge under AR178, in that as the trainer of Follow Through he presented the mare to race on July 13, 2017 at the Grafton racecourse and cobalt above that accepted by AR178C(1)(l) was detected in a pre-race sample.

It is understood two racing laboratories found cobalt in excess of 4000ug/L, 40 times the accepted limit, a quantity that has not been seen in racing since the suspension of Newcastle trainer Darren Smith in 2015.

Yorke vehemently denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to the charge.

In a stewards report at the hearing, it was noted the trainer's previously clean record and not guilty plea was taken into account when deciding on the sentence, which expires in June 2019.

Yorke was allowed 24 hours to lodge an appeal to his sentence, but failed to do so in time.

But the trainer of more than four decades said this was not the last that Racing NSW has heard of him as he plans to take the case to the NSW Supreme Court.

"I am absolutely devastated by this," he said.

"They took my soul and now they have taken my dignity but they won't take my life.

"I have asked for a transcript of the case and I will be taking it to lawyers to get a second independent opinion on what my rights are.

"But the probability of a Supreme Court case is definitely there."

It has been a troubling few months for the trainer, who first entered the racing ranks as a young boy in New Zealand before going on to claim the biggest win of his career in the 1990 Hong Kong Bank Victoria Derby with maiden colt Fire Oak.

Yorke almost lost his right ear in an incident with a horse at his Grafton stables in early December, an injury which he believes should have earned him a stay of proceedings when his case was first heard the week before Christmas.

"My doctor was horrified to think the industry would refuse a stay of proceedings to a person who was on serious medication including Endone," Yorke said.

The 64-year-old horse trainer said he believes the racing industry and the NSW Government have a lot to answer for.

"I have been involved in racing since I was 11 years old," he said. "To understand and believe the integrity of the industry has dropped so low is devastating.

"I am utterly disappointed in the judicial system of racing in this state.

"Hard-done-by is an understatement, I don't believe I had a chance when I went in (to the hearing)."

Yorke is one of the founders of the NSW Trainers Association, which was created to support the interests of the people on the ground in the stables.

"I have helped the little man all my life and I believe in that," he said. "I have nothing left to lose."

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