Mackay trainer Olivia Cairns with hot favourite Pincess Torio
Mackay trainer Olivia Cairns with hot favourite Pincess Torio Madolyn Peters

Top Mackay horse trainer charged over high alkaline

TOP Mackay trainer Olivia Cairns plans to appeal a finding that she administered an alkalinising agent to a horse before it raced at Ooralea.

The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission fined Ms Cairns $2500 after it was found that on October 7 the horse Tickets to Ride had an elevated amount of plasma dioxide concentration (36.3 millimoles per litre) in its blood.

Most horses naturally have a reading between 27 and 33 millimoles per litre.

Tickets to Ride finished sixth in Race 5 at the Ooralea Race Course on October 7.

Blood test results showed that an alkalinising agent was administered some time during the morning of, or the day before, the race.

High alkaline levels in the bloodstream help to reduce the amount of lactic acid build-up in muscles. Lactic acid naturally fatigues a horse, and when built up enough will force a horse to pull up.

According to the QRIC Stewards' Report, Ms Cairns was charged with administering the agent during the one clean day period (from 12:01am the day before the race).

"When considering the matter, the stewards placed significant weight on the evidence provided by Dr (Karen) Cardwell, in particular her explanation regarding the excretion period of alkalinising agents, and also the amount of alkalinising agents that would need to be administered to achieve the levels recorded by Tickets to Ride," the report stated.

"Stewards were comfortably satisfied that Ms Cairns had administered alkalinising agents within the one clear day period and formally found her guilty of the charge."

A QRIC spokesman said the body tries to equalise its Ph level quickly, so elevated levels of acid or alkaline were short lived.

The report stated that Ms Cairns pleaded not guilty to the charge and offered a defence, but did not reveal details.

Ms Cairns refused to comment, but confirmed that she would be appealing the QRIC's decision.

The Mackay-based trainer is one of the most consistent performers, having had 249 starts for 38 winners and 71 placegetters in the past 12 months.