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Thurston Owners Sue WATC

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Tuesday, 30 September 2003: The long-running Thurston saga in Western Australia has taken a dramatic twist with the owners of the stayer issuing a writ against the WA Turf Club.

Thurston has been at the centre of a major controversy since he was disqualified from second place in the 2001 Perth Cup.

The writ served on the WATC alleges that a positive swab taken from Thurston after the Perth Cup was fraudulently obtained because the sample had been tampered with while under official custody.

The legal action seeks to have Thurston reinstated to second place in the Perth Cup and that they receive the $55,000 prizemoney plus six percent interest.

Thurston was trained by former champion jockey John Miller when he ran second in the Perth Cup.

Miller was disqualified from training for six months by WATC stewards in May last year at the conclusion of their Perth Cup inquiry but the ban was later quashed by the WA Racing Penalties Appeal Tribunal.

Thurston's owners Dean Capelli, Neven Botica and Gary Johnson had previously lost an appeal to the Tribunal seeking to have their horse reinstated to second place in the Perth Cup.

During Miller’s appeal the Tribunal heard biochemist John Cochrane claim the substance found in Thurston's swab – the stomach ulcer treatment cimetidine - had not passed through the horse's digestive system.

Cochrane stated in evidence hat the match of the sample and reference sample indicated the specimen was not of biological origin and was highly critical of the Australian Forensic Racing Laboratory and the WATC.

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