New Zealand trainer Trent Busuttin was left to look on as Dissident took out the Hobartville Stakes after pre-post favourite El Roca was a late scratching because of a breach of race-day treatment rules.
Racing NSW chief investigator Nathan Hayward found a lump on El Roca's jugular vein during a routine race-day inspection, which led stewards to examine Busuttin's treatment book.
It showed El Roca had intravenously been given the alkalising agent Lang's solution on Friday morning under the guidance of Flemington Equine Clinic vet David Garth.
Busuttin fronted stewards before the first race on Saturday with Garth and El Roca's part-owner Martin Bradley to explain the treatment, which is banned under the Australian Rules of Racing.
"It was ignorance but ignorance isn't an excuse," Busuttin said. "I didn't go out to break the rule and I rang you [chief steward] Ray Murrihy on Thursday to check if it was okay to ice his legs."
Busuttin and Garth were charged under rule 178AA, both plead guilty and were fined $2000.
Garth told stewards that in Victoria the treatment was allowed and he believed there was no reason not to give the solution. Murrihy said he will take up with Victoria stewards why they are operating under a different rule to the same of the country.
After examining all the evidence, which included the fact El Roca's TCO2 levels were comparable with those during his first-up win, stewards took until after race three to make the decision to scratch El Roca.
''The conundrum we have in the Hobartville Stakes is we have nine runners and eight of them have conformed to the pre-race testing requirements and one has not,'' chief steward Ray Murrihy said of the decision.
''Irrespective of the circumstances it must be a level playing field. The treatment was given with the intent to correct an electrolyte fluid imbalance in El Roca the day before the race.''
On the track, Dissident was too strong as Jim Cassidy completed a double after winning the Parramatta Cup on Opinion.Cassidy was positive from the jump on Dissident and then held off a late challenge from Atlante, which did not look comfortable in the ground, with Savvy Nature hitting the line hard for third.
''I think he's going to be better once he gets over further,'' Cassidy said. ''I had to be aggressive today to hold my spot. Being chased and annoyed the whole trip kept him focused and interested, which helped him get through it.
''I told Pete [Moody] if we got rain during the day, they're going to make ground so it was important that I remained positive.''Once he gets to 10 furlongs he'll be able to travel in his races.
''The way he relaxes and is so laid back, I wouldn't say he's not a derby horse. You only get one crack at them and it's worth a bit of money.''
Atlante's trainer Murray Baker was amazed by the effort of his colt, which looked gone at the 600 metres, only to come again in the straight and go down by a head.
''He doesn't handle those conditions at all, which you could clearly see in the race,'' Baker said. ''The only reason we went round was because there is not another race to get him to the [Rosehill] Guineas. To get that close was incredible and I can't wait to get him on a dry track.''
Busuttin has that problem with El Roca, which might run in the Liverpool City Cup next Saturday or Canberra Guineas the following day."He needs to have another run before the Randwick Guineas and I would rather a seven-day back-up than six," Busuttin said.
John O'Shea was another to come away with a smile on his face as Savvy Nature was beaten by only one length into third.
''To start a preparation with a run like that for a horse like him is great,'' O'Shea said. ''He isn't going to show his best until he gets to a mile or 2000m. It just shows he has come back as well as we could expect.''
The story Dissident in good books as favourite El Roca scratched first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.