Kootingal horse trainer Craig Clegg has been disqualified for 14 months after pleading guilty to a number of charges relating to the euthanasia of a racehorse he had prepared.
Clegg pleaded guilty to failing to provide necessary veterinary treatment to Precocious Girl between July 16 and July 21, when the horse "displayed clinical signs of choke", said Shane Cullen, chairman of stewards for the Hunter and North West Racing Association, in a report he compiled.
(Choke is a condition in horses in which the esophagus is blocked, usually by food material. Although the horse is still able to breathe, it is unable to swallow, and may become severely dehydrated.)
Clegg also pleaded guilty to acting "dishonestly" by "fabricating" treatment records for the days preceding the euthanasia of the four-year-old mare, "when he knew that those treatment records were not a true reflection of the regime that Precocious Girl received", Cullen said.
The trainer also pleaded guilty to having unregistered medication, Bell drops, at his premises on July 21.
(Bell drops - used to combat fatigue in horses - are not registered under the relevant state and commonwealth legislation.)
Cullen said that in considering the penalty, stewards took into account Clegg's guilty pleas and "his unblemished disciplinary record" over 43 years in both the thoroughbred and harness racing industries.
Cullen said stewards also took into consideration Clegg's "previous long-held engagement and service in an integrity position" in the harness racing industry.
For failing to provide necessary veterinary treatment, he was disqualified for 18 months - reduced to 11 months due to mitigating factors.
For fabricating treatment records, he received a six-month disqualification - reduced to three months due to mitigating factors, and to be served cumulatively with the 11-month disqualification.
Clegg was fined $200 for having the unregistered medication.
His disqualification expires on September 23 next year.
Clegg was given seven days to make appropriate arrangements for the care and relocation of horses in his care.
Precocious Girl had 15 race starts, for a win and two second placings. Her last race start was at Moree on July 16, when she finished last in a field of 12.
Clegg declined to comment when contacted by the Leader.