Hong Kong Trainer Contends Shampoo Contained Banned Substance

According to an Associated Press story on bloodhorse.com, a top Hong Kong horse trainer ridiculed a doping charge against him after officials found the banned substance in a shampoo handed out freely by track veterinarians, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

Trainer Ivan Allan attacked The Hong Kong Jockey Club's chief veterinary surgeon, Dr. Keith Watkins, for saying a horse tested positive for the diuretic Isosorbide and saying that the drug could not have come from anything used by club vets, the South China Morning Post reported.

The horse, Cheers Hong Kong, was scratched from a race Feb. 23 as a result, but Allan complained that the diuretic is contained in a skin-rash shampoo for horses called Imaverol handed out by Watkins' department, the newspaper said.

"Sadly, his expertise did not know that the diuretic was spelled S-H-A-M-P-O-O and freely administered by his department," Allan was quoted as saying.

The Post said external use of the shampoo would not give a horse a positive test for the diuretic, but if the horse had a cut in its skin where the shampoo was applied or licked the treated area, a positive test could result.

Allan said that if he had not fought back, he would almost certainly have been found guilty of doping for the first time in his 27-year career, and been fined 150,000 Hong Kong dollars (US$19,000).

Allan said the problem with the shampoo was discovered by "the persistent efforts" of the director of racing, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges.

The Post quoted Engelbrecht-Bresges as confirming the shampoo finding but declining to elaborate, pending a resumption of the case on Thursday.

Jockey Club spokeswoman Julia Tsang declined to comment on the case but said an inquiry into the doping charge would proceed on Thursday.

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