Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

A.J. Martin (Trainer) Referral – The Curragh 20th July 2019

The Referrals Committee, Mr. Justice Tony Hunt (in the chair), Mr. Anthony Byrne and Mr. Finbar Cahill convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), The Curragh, Co Kildare on 5th March 2020 to consider whether or not Mr. A.J. Martin (Trainer) was in breach of any rules as a result of a report received from LGC Laboratories, Fordham, UK.

The report stated that the urine Sample taken from Moonmeister following his win in The Kildare Village Ladies Derby handicap at The Curragh on 20th July 2019 was found to contain triamcinolone acetonide (“TCA”) above the agreed European Screening Limit (ESL). Under Rule 20 (v) and Regulation R14 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules TCA is a prohibited substance.

The trainer requested that the B sample be tested and the finding of TCA in the B portion of the sample was confirmed by Laboratoire des Courses Hippiques in France.

Evidence was heard from Dr Lynn Hillyer (IHRB Chief Veterinary Officer and Head of Anti-Doping and Mr. Martin. Mr. Martin’s Veterinary Surgeon Mr. Jack McCarthy was in attendance.   

In her evidence, Dr Hillyer outlined the findings of the IHRB investigation. She stated that TCA is a corticosteroid anti-inflammatory medication commonly used in equine practice. It has effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and so is often used to treat joint inflammation, sometimes in combination with other medications. She noted that Mr. Martin had undertaken sequential elective sampling of the Horse following confirmation of the adverse analytical finding as advised by the IHRB. Mr. Martin advised that the horse had been treated intra-articularly and a withdrawal time of 14 days advised by his veterinary surgeon which he had complied with. He commented that he had complied with elective testing and in doing so delayed the potential sale of the horse but understood that it was necessary.

Having considered the evidence, the Committee were satisfied that Mr. Martin was in breach of Rule 96(a) and disqualified Moonmeister, ordered that the stake be forfeited and amended the result of the race to read as follows:-

First:                     Perfect Tapatino (FR)

Second:                Galeola (GB)

Third:                    Royal Illusion

Fourth:                 Bay Hill

Fifth:                     Zoffalee (GB)

In considering penalty the Committee noted that the Trainer had provided full cooperation to the investigation and the Committee imposed a fine of €1,000 however waived it under the provisions of Rule 96(a) as they were satisfied that the Trainer had taken all reasonable precautions to avoid a breach of the rule. 

The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Head of Legal, Licensing & Compliance.


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