down cross right results icon premium content video video hollow icon audio lifeNews icon-comment tick starFilled betSlip hot icon-liveCommentary refresh spinner arrow-down
coral logo ladbrokes logo betway logo williamHill logo bet365 logo paddypower logo unibet logo betfair logo skybet logo tote logo
TODAY'S OFFERS
TODAY'S BOOKMAKER OFFERS
Exclusive to new customers:
  • View offer
    £20 RISK FREE FIRST BET
    Claim this offer
    New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using Cards or Apple Pay will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. Paddy's Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply.
  • View offer
    Bet £5 get £20 in free bets
    Claim this offer
    Open an account with Ladbrokes and place £5 of bets, you'll get £20 in free bets. 18+ New UK+Ire customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1-2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
  • View offer
    GET UP TO £100 IN FREE BETS
    Claim this offer
    New customer offer. Place 5 x £10 or more bets to receive £20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
  • View offer
    Bet £10 get £30 in free bets
    Claim this offer
    Open a betting account with Coral through our site and when you place your first bet on horse racing (£10 or more) they'll give you 3 x £10 free bets. 18+. UK+IRE New Customers Only. First bet at least £10 or £10 each-way, at fractional odds totalling 1/2 or greater. Free Bets credited as 3 x £10. Free bet valid for 7 days. Free bet will not be included in any winnings. T&Cs Apply
  • View offer
    Up to £100 in Bet Credits
    Claim this offer
    Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
  • View offer
    Bet £10 get £30 in free bets
    Claim this offer
    Open an account with William Hill using promo code P30, bet £10 and get £30 in free bets. Min £10 stake, win only, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15, 30 day expiry, free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply. T&Cs apply
  • View offer
    Money back as a bonus up to £40
    Claim this offer
    Money back as a bonus up to £40 if your first racing bet loses + £10 casino bonus. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min odds of 2-5 (1.40), Casino 25x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in. T&Cs apply
  • View offer
    £10 risk-free first bet
    Claim this offer
    Place your first bet on Pools and if it loses we'll refund your stake in cash. Max refund is £10. Qualifying bet is the first bet added to the betslip. Totewin will be the qualifying bet when a Totewin and a Toteplace bet are struck at the same time. E-wallet deposit restrictions apply.
  • View offer
    Bet £5 get £20 in free bets
    Claim this offer
    Open an account with Sky Bet and get £20 in free bets when you place a £5 bet. First single and EW bet only. Odds of 1-1 or greater. 2x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets are non withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions. Further T&Cs apply. 18+
  • View offer
    Up to £100 in Bet Credits
    Claim this offer
    Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
  • View offer
    Bet £10 get £40 in free bets
    Claim this offer
    Open an account with William Hill using promo code W40, bet £10 and get £40 in free bets. Min £10 stake, win only, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 4 x £10, 30 day expiry, free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply. T&Cs apply
  • View offer
    Bet £10 get £40 in free bets
    Claim this offer
    Open an account with Ladbrokes and place £10 in bets and you'll get £40 in free bets. 18+ New UK+Ire customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £10 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1-2 = 4 x £10 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
  • View offer
    Bet £10 get £40 in free bets
    Claim this offer
    Open a betting account with Coral through our site and when you place your first bet on horse racing (£10 or more) they'll give you 4 x £10 free bets. 18+. UK+IRE New Customers Only. First bet at least £10 or £10 each-way, at fractional odds totalling 1/2 or greater. Free Bets credited as 4 x £10. Free bet valid for 4 days. Free bet will not be included in any winnings. T&Cs Apply
  • View offer
    UP TO £50 IN FREE SPORTS BETS
    Claim this offer
    Place a single £10 Sportsbook bet and get money back as a free bet if it loses.There are x5 Free Bets available. Max refund per qualifying bet is £10. Only deposits made via Credit/Debit Card will be eligible for the promotion. Paddy's Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply.
  • View offer
    Bet £5 get £20 in free bets
    Claim this offer
    Open an account with Sky Bet and get £20 in free bets when you place a £5 bet. First single and EW bet only. Odds of 1-1 or greater. 2x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets are non withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions. Further T&Cs apply. 18+
  • View offer
    UP TO £50 IN FREE SPORTS BETS
    Claim this offer
    Place a single £10 Sportsbook bet and get money back as a free bet if it loses. There are x5 Free Bets available. Max refund per qualifying bet is £10. Only deposits made via Credit/Debit Card will be eligible for the promotion. T&Cs apply.

Breach of cobalt threshold likely to see Balnaslow stripped of Aintree success

Balnaslow, seen here winning the Foxhunters' at Aintree under Derek O'Connor, is the latest to fall foul of the cobalt threshold
1 of 1

The cobalt controversy that has plagued British and Irish racing over the past 18 months could claim its highest profile winner as it has emerged as the substance that could see leading hunter chaser Balnaslow stripped of his Aintree Foxhunters' success.

The Graham McKeever-trained 12-year-old finished second in the 2017 Foxhunters' before going one better last year when recording a poignant victory under Derek O’Connor, months after the death of Balnaslow’s owner Peggy Hagan.

However, George Barlow, who owns the runner-up Bear’s Affair, indicated at Cheltenham on Tuesday that he was awaiting official confirmation that his horse would be awarded the race.

While the BHA has still to conclude its investigation nine months on, it is understood that Balnaslow faces being disqualified after testing positive for elevated levels of cobalt.

When contacted by the Racing Post, McKeever did not want to comment while the case was ongoing, and the BHA has stated that it does not comment on "potential investigations".

Graham McKeever, who faces losing the Aintree Foxhunters after Balnaslow tested positive for enhanced levels of cobalt

Since the spring of 2016 when the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) established a threshold of 100 nanograms of cobalt per millilitre in urine and 25ng/ml in plasma, subsequent breaches have seen four track and point-to-point winners – trained by Shark Hanlon, Pat Kelly, Mikey O'Connor and Joseph O'Brien – disqualified in Ireland.

In Britain, McKeever's fellow Northern Ireland-based colleague Stephen McConville and his son Michael were hit with three-year bans after Anseanachai Cliste tested positive for cobalt at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.

Anseanachai Cliste was a late withdrawal from the Foxhunter there after blood-covered syringes were discovered in a bag taken on to the racecourse.

Former Group 1-winning Yorkshire handler Robin Bastiman received the same length of suspension after a retrospective test on the 2016 Wolverhampton winner John Caesar showed levels of cobalt that exceeded the threshold.

At the time, Bastiman was operating as assistant to his daughter Rebecca, who was fined £5,000 for her role in a case that found her father guilty of injecting on race day the cobalt-containing Haemo 15, the same tonic that the McConvilles admitted to administering to Anseanachai Cliste.

Rebecca Bastiman was fined £5,000 after John Caesar breached the cobalt threshold

Cobalt is an essential trace element and is naturally present in horses but studies have concluded that it also has the potential to enhance performance above normal physiological parameters, while research has also suggested high concentration levels can pose a welfare risk.

Because of its capacity to increase red blood cells and therefore improve metabolic efficiency, it has been compared to the human blood-doping agent EPO, although some, including leading trainer and qualified vet Mark Johnston, insist that cobalt does not have performance-enhancing benefits.

Details of the Balnaslow case are unconfirmed, but there is a suggestion that a commonly used supplement may be central to the investigation.

Inadvertent contamination via supplements and a salt lick were in effect accepted by Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board referral panels for the Hanlon and O'Brien breaches, and a number of manufacturers have reacted to the spate of cobalt transgressions by actively removing cobalt-containing agents from their products.


Previous cases

Pedisnap (disqualified), August 15, 2018

Golf Membership Gowran Apprentice Handicap at Gowran Park

Trainer Joseph O'Brien was absolved of responsibility after IHRB accepted a salt lick that the horse was exposed to on race day was to blame. Fine waived.

Camlann (disqualified), August 2, 2018

Open Gate Brewery Handicap at Galway

Trainer Shark Hanlon hit with suspended 18-month ban and fined €7,000 plus costs of €2,000 after IHRB found that the horse was exposed to the substance on race day. Hanlon put the breach down to use of four cobalt-containing supplements.

Awbeg Prince (disqualified), May 29, 2018

McHale F5500 Baler Maiden Hurdle at Ballinrobe

Trainer Mikey O'Connor fined €1,000 plus costs of €500 but absolved of blame after IHRB concluded the horse was administered a cobalt-containing B12 injection on raceday.

Warendorf (disqualified), March 11, 2018

5&6-year-old Geldings Maiden at Belclare point-to-point

Trainer Pat Kelly fined €1,000 plus costs of €3,000 after IHRB found that the horse was exposed to cobalt proximate to race, but Kelly ultimately absolved of responsibility for a reading that was over 13ng/ml above the 25ng/ml permitted in plasma.

Anseanachai Cliste (withdrawn), March 17, 2017

St James's Place Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham

Trainer Stephen McConville and son Michael banned for three years after blood-stained syringes were identified on the way into the stable yard. Both admitted injecting the horse with cobalt-containing tonic Haemo 15.

John Caesar (disqualified), April 8, 2016

Black Country's Only Racecourse Handicap at Wolverhampton

Trainer Rebecca Bastiman fined £5,000 and her assistant and father Robin banned for three years after the latter was found to have injected the horse with Haemo 15 on race day.


Members can read the latest exclusive interviews, news analysis and comment available from 6pm daily on racingpost.com


 

Details of the Balnaslow case are unconfirmed, but there is a suggestion that a commonly used supplement may be central to the investigation
Bookmaker
Price
E.W. Terms
Sporting
BetVictor
Boylesport
RaceBets