Ferniehirst (pink, brown sleeves) sprints to the line to finish second in the NRRA Country Championships Qualifier at Grafton on March 11.
Ferniehirst (pink, brown sleeves) sprints to the line to finish second in the NRRA Country Championships Qualifier at Grafton on March 11. Bruce Thomas/Trackside Photography

Ferniehirst cleared to run in Country Championships final

3.00pm: AFTER a lengthy hearing in Coffs Harbour, Racing NSW stewards have cleared Ferniehirst to run in Saturday's Country Championships Final at Royal Randwick.

The mare's trainer Paul Smith was called upon in an inquiry to offer an explanation regarding a pre-race blood sample taken from the stable star that showed traces of the anti-inflammatory drug naproxen.

Stewards found that Smith had no case to answer and cleared Coffs Harbour's chance in Saturday's big race to run.

Chairman of Stewards for the Northern Rivers Racing Association Mark Holloway released a statement that said it was the opinion of Racing NSW Senior Official Veterinarian Dr Craig Suann that the findings of the pre-race blood sample from Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory and Racing Analytical Services Limited should not be considered to be the detection of a prohibited substance.

"Together with the evidence of Dr Adam Cawley that naproxen could not be confirmed in the post-race urine sample taken from Ferniehirst, the Stewards found that the findings of the ARFL and RASL did not constitute the detection of a prohibited substance under the rules of racing," the statement said.

ORIGINAL - 7.15am: THE starting position of Coffs Harbour mare Ferniehirst in Saturday's Country Championships Final at Royal Randwick is in doubt.

Racing NSW stewards will be conducting an inquiry at Coffs Harbour Racing Club from 10am this morning with the Floral Dynamite mare's trainer Paul Smith.

Two official racing laboratories, namely the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory and Racing Analytical Services Limited, have certified that a blood sample contains naproxen.

The pre-race blood sample taken from Ferniehirst was prior to her finishing second in the NRRA Country Championships Qualifier conducted at Grafton on March 11.

Initial phone calls reveal information which may sway this morning's inquiry in Smith's favour as it's believed a sample taken after the race has come up clear.

Naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used for the treatment of muscle pain and soft tissue injury in horses.



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