Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Christy Roche (Trainer) “Groody Hill” Referral Prohibited Substance - Fairyhouse 4 November 2014

The Referrals Committee, N.B. Wachman (in the Chair), Peter N. Reynolds  and Mrs. J.O. Onions met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Tuesday 16th December 2014, to consider a report from BHP Laboratories in Limerick stating that the biological fluid sample taken from “Groody Hill”, trained by Christy Roche, following the horse’s win in the “Book Your Christmas Party At Fairyhouse December 20th Handicap Hurdle” at Fairyhouse on 4th November 2014, was found to contain Salbutamol which, under Rule 20(v) and Regulation R14, is a prohibited substance.  The trainer requested that the “B” sample be tested and the sample which was tested by Laboratoire des Courses Hippiques in Paris confirmed the findings of Salbutamol.

Evidence was heard from Andrew Tyrrell MRCVS, Turf Club veterinary officer, John Stafford MRCVS, Mr. Roche’s veterinary surgeon and Christy Roche.

In his evidence Andrew Tyrrell MRCVS said that Salbutamol was a slow acting beta agonist which effects the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.  He said it was performance enhancing and that it is usually given to a horse by inhalation.  He said the administration of Salbutamol had not been recorded in the Medicines Register.

In his evidence, John Stafford MRCVS outlined the work he carried out for Mr. Roche and outlined why he had prescribed Salbutamol for Groody Hill.  He said either himself or Mr. Roche’s headman were responsible for all administrations and he had been given full responsibility by Mr. Roche for looking after any veterinary matter relating to his horses.  He said he had underestimated the withdrawal time for Salbutamol with the result that the horse was found to be positive on race day.  He said the administration was not given as a performance enhancer, but rather as a medicine to a horse who had a respiratory condition. 

In his evidence, Mr. Roche confirmed what Mr. Stafford had said and accepted that he had to take responsibility for his actions.

Having considered the evidence, the Committee found that Christy Roche was in breach of Rule 96(a) as the sample taken from Groody Hill showed the presence of a prohibited substance and Rule 148(iii)(b) in that he failed to ensure that the use of the medicine was recorded in the Medicines Register and that it was kept up to date at all times.  Mr. Roche was fined €1,000 for the breach of Rule 96(a) and €130 for the breach of Rule 148(iii)(b).  He was also ordered to pay the costs of analysis of the “B” sample.

The Committee also disqualified Groody Hill from first place and ordered the records be amended to read as follows:

First:    Bearly Legal

Second:  Augher Castle

Third:    Colms Dream

Fourth:   Forjoethepainter

The case was presented to the Committee by Conal Boyce, Solicitor, Naas, Co. Kildare. 


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