On 6 October 2021, the Victorian Racing Tribunal (VRT) considered a charge issued by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards against licensed trainer Maryanne Laffan 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.

The charge related to a urine sample collected from the horse ‘Silky Smooth Excuse’ prior to Race 3, the ‘Your Sold Real Estate Pace (1st Div)’, at the Shepparton harness racing meeting on 29 November 2020. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported the sample contained the prohibited substance heptaminol.

Ms Laffan pleaded guilty to the charge before submissions on penalty were heard from the HRV Stewards and Dr Richard Ingleby, counsel for Ms Laffan.


Ms Laffan was suspended for a period of 3 months, ordered to commence immediately.

The VRT also ordered that, under AHRR 195, ‘Silky Smooth Excuse’ be disqualified from the respective race and that the placings be amended accordingly.


VRT Panel: Judge Graeme Hicks (Chairman) and Member Judy Bourke

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)