Racing: Trainer faces drug charges

By Michael Guerin

Chilcott allowed to continue after court appearance for alleged bid to import ITPP.

Nicky Chilcott will reappear in court in February. Photo / APN
Nicky Chilcott will reappear in court in February. Photo / APN

Embattled harness trainer Nicky Chilcott is free to train and drive until the outcome of the drug charges laid against her in court yesterday.

Harness racing bosses revealed to the Herald that they held a hearing as long ago as July to establish whether she was fit to hold a licence.

The Cambridge horsewoman appeared in court in Hamilton yesterday on charges of attempting to obtain veterinary drugs from overseas, including the controversial ITPP.

Chilcott was found to have ITPP in her possession at Christchurch International Airport in March.

ITPP is the commonly used name for myo-inositol-prispyrophosphate, a drug that can cause the haemoglobin in blood to release oxygen in amounts substantially greater than normal.

Chilcott denies using the drug, or any other illegal substances, on her horses and was yesterday calling the charges a huge misunderstanding.

Racing bosses are playing the waiting game in regard to what, if any, action they take against Chilcott.

Harness Racing New Zealand and the Racing Integrity Unit were alerted to the police investigations soon after they started and met in July to determine whether Chilcott would be allowed to keep her licence.

After the 41-year-old disputed some of the facts of the case, it was decided no action would be taken against her by racing authorities until the charges had been heard in court.

The next hearing date has been set for February 1.

HRNZ boss Edward Rennell says his organisation is "concerned and disappointed by the court proceedings".

Rennell said HRNZ would await the outcome of the court proceeding before reviewing the findings in conjunction with the RIU.

Chilcott already faces a RIU hearing into a positive swab returned by her pacer Precious Mach after she won at Alexandra Park in April.

But that positive was to the far less serious drug tramadol, and Rennell was quick to point out yesterday that there was no evidence to link the Precious Mach positive with yesterday's court charges.

Chilcott is one of the most successful female trainers of either code in New Zealand racing history and this season became the first woman to drive 500 harness racing winners in New Zealand.

She is the only female driver to regularly compete at the top level at Alexandra Park and has driven 10 winners this season, making her the equal top female driver in New Zealand.

She has four drives and three horses from her own stable racing at Cambridge tonight.

- NZ Herald

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