New positive test revealed
The number of horses from the stables already caught up in the morphine controversy has risen to eight, according to the British Horseracing Authority, with the completion of an initial stage of inquiry suggesting contaminated feed as the source of the
Seven horses had been previously reported to have tested positive for the banned substance, the highest profile of which being Estimate, but that figure has now grown.
A statement issued by the BHA read: "Further to the already reported seven samples testing positive for morphine, BHA can confirm an additional finding from within one of the yards that has already produced a positive.
"Once the outstanding 'B' sample analysis is complete, BHA will be able to confirm the identities of all the horses whose samples returned positive results."
Sir Michael Stoute confirmed that Estimate and stablemate Russian Realm had shown traces of the drug, while Tony Carroll, Eve Johnson Houghton, Gay Kelleway and Charlie Hills have also said they train horses which had returned positives.
The BHA said that, with the exception of one case, the circumstances about which the positive samples were found were very similar and "point to the source of the positive test being contaminated horse feed".
Racing's rulers said the other case was still likely to be linked with contaminated feed, but that there was a "difference in the circumstances" to the rest.
To that end, all but one of the cases will be heard collectively by a disciplinary panel of the BHA. The other case will be heard separately.
The statement continued: "Investigations have established that in all but one of the cases the circumstances are very similar and point to the source of the positive test being contaminated horse feed.
"The intention is for all these cases to be heard together by the disciplinary panel.
"In the other case, involving a yard which is responsible for only one positive sample, while the evidence is also suggestive of contaminated feed, differences in the circumstances mean that the case will be heard separately.
"Upon receipt of the results of the counter-analysis on two outstanding 'B' samples, as requested by connections of horses concerned, the process of identifying potential dates for the disciplinary panel hearings will get under way."
Should the BHA disciplinary panel find that the source of the positives was contaminated feed, sanctions against those trainers involved will not occur - assuming they have "taken all reasonable precautions to safeguard against a positive test".
The horses will, however, be disqualified from the races in which post-race samples were taken.
That could mean that connections of Estimate, owned by the Queen, will have to forfeit £80,625 in prize-money for finishing second in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot on June 19.
Feed suppliers Dodson & Horrell said last month that they had undertaken a full investigation into the case.