A batch of human hormone allegedly stolen from Wollongong Hospital is at the centre of a scandal at Kembla Grange, with a nurse facing police charges over the alleged theft of EPO and thoroughbred trainer Mick Tubman charged by Racing NSW Stewards with its possession.
EPO, or erythropoietin, is a hormone produced in the kidney that can also be synthetically created and used as a performance enhancer in both humans and horses in a practice known as blood doping.
Racing NSW began investigating Mr Tubman, who denies any knowledge of the EPO, following a referral from NSW Police. He has been stood down from training while the substances seized during a June 14 raid at his home are analysed.
"Mr Tubman’s trainer’s licence is currently suspended on an interim basis. At this time Mr Tubman is not permitted to nominate, accept or start a horse in a race or barrier trial, nor work any horse being trained by him on a registered racecourse or training facility," read a statement provided by Racing NSW on Saturday.
"Mr Tubman has five days in which to provide any evidence or submissions".
The EPO had been allegedly added to a bottle of cortorta, a supplement that contains phosphorus and vitamin B12.
Tubman is most well known for the fairytale filly Chance Bye, which won the 2010 Silver Slipper. He told The Sun-Herald he was surprised by what the stewards had found.
"When they come and took all the stuff away, I wasn't worried at all," Tubman said. "I thought there wasn't anything to worry about, but this stuff came from the second fridge and I didn't know anything about it.
"It was in my stable, so I am going to have wear it because those are the rules."
The Sun-Herald understands there is an ongoing police investigation into how the EPO was obtained.
Police have also charged a nurse from Wollongong Hospital with the alleged theft of the drug.
It is understood that the matter was referred to investigators from the Hospital, and on June 3 officers raided a home on Kembla Grange's Trifecta Place.
There, they seized EPO and medical equipment alleged to have been stolen from the hospital and an air rifle.
Two days later, the nurse was charged with four counts of having suspected goods on her property and five counts of larceny.
She will appear in Wollongong Local Court on July 16.
Article courtesy of ACM and The Brisbane Times