Sydney trainer Luke McCarthy has been called to a positive swab inquiry on the eve of starting top pacer Mr Feelgood in the V75 Perth Inter Dominion Championship which begins at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Harness Racing NSW stewards said yesterday the McCarthy-trained Mach Wiper tested positive to the anabolic steroid boldenone after winning the Newcastle Cup (2550m) on December 9.
McCarthy is listed to drive $3.2 million stakes earner Mr Feelgood in Friday's second Inters heat, which features his clash with Mysta Magical Mach and Raglan. But McCarthy's father John said yesterday he would drive Mr Feelgood.
"Luke is staying in Sydney and will defend vigorously at the swab inquiry," McCarthy Sr said. "It's baffling why Mach Wiper was positive on December 9, yet his swabs were negative after two wins in November and another win on January 22. We believe there was a swabbing error at Newcastle."
Meantime, star Kiwi Auckland Reactor has drawn gate three in the first Inters heat over 1700m and looks set to earn points towards qualifying for the 2506m final on March 2. The $1.6 million stakes earner has thrived at Rob Tomlinson's Pinjarra stable since a flight from New Zealand on Saturday.
Smoken Up has settled in well at a stables near Serpentine. He should cross quickly from gate seven in Friday night's third heat.
Trainer Gary Hall Sr says he expects Im Themightyquinn to get an ideal trail from gate four in the fourth heat.
"I reckon Has The Answers will lead from the pole in Quinnie's heat," Hall said.
Has The Answers' trainer Tony Svilicich predicted a form reversal by the gelding, who ran fifth over 2100m last Friday night.
- Friday's heats in barrier order: *
- Heat 1: *Alzona, Washakie, Auckland Reactor, Wrongly Accused, Tsunami Lombo, Sneakyn Down Under, Rakarebel, David Hercules, Russley Rascal.
- Heat 2: *Rocket Reign, Ohoka Du Nord, Scan Air, Can Return Fire, Raglan, Motu Treasure, Mysta Magical Mach, Mr Feelgood, Crombie.
- Heat 3: *Saucy Legend, Cromac Johnny, Hy Royale, Bus To Harland, Eastwood Fire, Pablito, Smoken Up, Dasher VC, Hesa Buzzin.
- Heat 4: *Has The Answers, Son Of Fergie, Lombo Navigator, Im Themightyquinn, Little Sonny Bill, Lombo Pocket Watch, Artorius, Lightning Raider, Fast Play.