Steve Pateman has been disqualified by the Racing and Appeals Disciplinary Board after being found guilty of using cobalt.
Steve Pateman has been disqualified by the Racing and Appeals Disciplinary Board after being found guilty of using cobalt.

Cobalt admission a drunken mistake: Pateman

CHAMPION jumps jockey Steven Pateman claimed he was drunk and "just wanted to get off the phone" after admitting to Racing Victoria stewards that he administered cobalt to a horse he was training.

Pateman, Australia's leading jumps jockey and his wife and training partner Jess Barton were banned for three years by the Racing and Appeals Disciplinary Board for presenting Sir Walter Scott at the Coleraine to race on September 24, 2017 with illegal levels of cobalt.

In a damning judgement the RAD Board declared both Pateman and Barton were "unreliable witnesses and not witnesses of truth."

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Among its reasons for the guilty finding and three year ban the RAD Board totally dismissed a claim from Pateman and Barton that their actions were a result of "impaired mental function".

A submission to that effect from a forensic psychologist Tim Watson-Munro, who never treated Pateman or Barton, was dismissed out of hand having only become part of their defence after they were found guilty on March 16.

Neither Bateman nor Barton had mentioned any impairment of mental function in four different interviews with stewards or during two hearings over the course of two years.

The findings also revealed that after admitting to stewards in a phone interview that he had administered cobalt, Pateman tried to take that admission back 11 days later when interviewed again.

Pateman claimed the admission was "the result of drunkenness, hangover, tiredness, an almost overwhelming desire to get off the telephone and the like".

But Pateman never denied the original admissions were made.

Pateman also tried to dispute the swabbing regime on his horse, despite "signing a document to the effect that he was satisfied with it".

The findings were also highly critical of the stable's record keeping, declaring it "incomplete, inaccurate and, at least in part, reconstructed".

Both Pateman and Barton pleaded not guilty to the charges, but the stewards didn't seek any more than the minimum period of disqualification for both.

The disqualification period begins immediately.