NSW - Mr James Sutton - Inquiry Conducted

15 October 2020

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards conducted an Inquiry yesterday in relation to a report from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that trendione and epitrenbolone were detected in the post race urine sample taken from;


•       YARRAMAN BELLA following its win in race 6, the GRAPEVINE CAFE PACE (2120 metres) conducted at Dubbo on Sunday 26 July 2020.


The substance trendione was confirmed in the ‘B’ sample by Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) in Victoria.


Mr Sutton appeared at the Inquiry and presented evidence in relation to the horse YARRAMAN BELLA and the registered veterinary product Ovumate that was prescribed by veterinarian Dr Don Crosby.


Evidence including the Reports of Analysis was presented to the Inquiry. HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Martin Wainscott also presented evidence to the Inquiry. Industry notices issued by HRNSW on 25 June 2018 and 13 February 2019 advising trainers and veterinarians to immediately stop the use of products containing altrenogest were also entered into evidence, together with a notification provided to Equine Veterinarians Australia.


Mr Sutton pleaded guilty to a charge issued against him by HRNSW Stewards pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) as follows:


AHRR 190.  (1)  A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances.

(2)  If a horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1) the trainer of the horse is guilty of an offence.

(4)  An offence under sub rule (2) or sub rule (3) is committed regardless of the circumstances in which the prohibited substance came to be present in or on the horse.



Mr Sutton was disqualified for a period of 3 months to commence immediately.




In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following;


•      Mr Sutton’s involvement in the harness racing industry, his licence history and offence record;

•         Class 1 Prohibited Substances;

•         The nature of the prohibited substances and circumstances relevant to this matter;

•         The fact that this offence occurred after HRNSW had published notices advising trainers and veterinarians to immediately stop using products containing altrenogest;

•      1st prohibited substance offence;

•      Mr Sutton’s personal subjective facts;

•      Mr Sutton’s guilty plea.


Acting under the provisions of AHRR 195, YARRAMAN BELLA was disqualified from the abovementioned race.


In addition, in accordance with AHRR 190AA (4), HRNSW Stewards ordered that YARRAMAN BELLA is not permitted to start in any race or be used for the purposes of breeding for a period of 12 months from 26 July 2020.


Mr Sutton was advised of his right to appeal these decisions.