Disqualified Maitland trainer Ricky Potts is unsure if he will return to harness racing after what he believes is an excessive, five-year ban for a second prohibited substance offence.
Potts pleaded not guilty but was handed bans of two years, five years and nine months, to be served concurrently, last month after found guilty by Harness Racing NSW stewards of charges relating to the plasma total carbon dioxide (TCO2) level of Mincarlie in a pre-race blood test at Newcastle on April 8. Mincarlie was eighth in the race.
“I can’t tell you why it came back high,” Potts said of the (TCO2) reading.
“It was only a bicarb reading and she was in season before it. I spoke to the vet and he said that will raise the bicarb level of the horse, and between that and her being agitated, he said those things add up to making it rise.”
He said he did not appeal the ban because of the cost involved and he was unsure if he would return to the sport.
“It makes you not want to come back to it again, when you get treated like that,” he said. “If it comes back positive, it comes back positive, but I don’t see five years in a high bicarb level when they are using ice and everything else and get half the time.”
Potts, a 34-year-old truck owner-driver, was suspended for nine months in 2013 when Winds Of Change returned a positive swab for synephrine.
“The first one really annoyed me because everyone got a warning over it,” he said. “A heap of people were just warned about it, even after I got a holiday for it.”
On Saturday night, Newcastle has a 10-race meeting, with the first at 4.55pm. Darryl Thomas’s Big Abraxas, Darren Elder’s Days End and Chris Bourke’s The Plainsman will carry Hunter hopes at Menangle.