Cobalt does not help a racehorse run faster, says trainer Mark Johnston

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Robin Bastiman was banned for three years for injecting cobalt. 

By Chris Cook

Cobalt doping does not improve a racehorse’s performance, according to Mark Johnston, who will shortly become the most successful British trainer by number of wins. Johnston, a qualified vet, was speaking in the wake of a three-year ban given to Robin Bastiman for injecting a horse with a substance containing cobalt on a day when it was due to race.

‘I do not believe for one second that it makes them run faster,’ said Johnston, when asked about cobalt, which is thought by some to delay the onset of fatigue by stimulating production of red blood cells. ‘There is mixed evidence and different opinions on whether it is of any benefit to humans. Even if it is, why should it work in horses? Why should blood doping work in horses, or EPO, or training at altitude?

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