On 16 September 2021, the Victorian Racing Tribunal (VRT) considered charges issued by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards against licensed trainer Hellen Scott and licensed driver John Scott under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1).

AHRR 190(1) reads as follows:

A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances.

Also relevant is AHRR 190(3), which states:

If a person is left in charge of a horse and the horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1), the trainer of the horse and the person left in charge is each guilty of an offence.

The charges related to a urine sample collected from the horse ‘De Lancome’ prior to it competing in Race 7, the ‘Hunter Rural Pace (1st Heat)’, at the Shepparton harness racing meeting on 10 September 2019 where John Scott was the authorised representative for registered trainer Hellen Scott. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported the sample contained cobalt in excess of the allowable threshold.

Both Hellen Scott and John Scott pleaded guilty to the respective charges before submissions on penalty were heard from the HRV Stewards and Mark Caldwell, solicitor for Mrs and Mr Scott.


On 7 October 2021, the VRT released its decision and imposed the following penalties:

Hellen Scott – 12 months suspension (of which 6 months is suspended for 2 years) to commence immediately.

John Scott – 6 months suspension (of which 3 months is suspended for 2 years) to commence immediately.

The VRT also ordered that, under AHRR 195, ‘De Lancome’ be disqualified from Race 7 at Shepparton on 10 September 2019 and that the placings be amended accordingly.


VRT Panel: Judge John Bowman (Chairman) and Des Gleeson.


The written decisions of the VRT can be found here.

(Please note that VRT Decisions will generally be published within 7-10 days of the date of hearing)