Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

D.J. Benson (Rider) – Banned Substance Galway, 10th October 2017

The Referrals Committee, Justice Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Justice Leonie Reynolds and Laurence McFerran met at the Croke Park Hotel, Jones Road, Dublin 3 on Thursday, 30th November 2017 to consider a report from IMIM Hospitaldelmar in Barcelona, Spain, that samples of urine taken from D.J. Benson, Rider, during in-competition testing at Galway Racecourse, Co. Galway on 10th October 2017 were found to contain Benzoylecgonine (metabolite of cocaine).

Under the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules, cocaine is a banned substance because it acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system with addictive and hallucinogenic properties and is prohibited in-competition pursuant to the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List International Standard as adopted by the Turf Club.

D.J. Benson accepted the results of the A samples and did not request that the ‘B’ samples be analysed.

Evidence was heard from Dr Adrian McGoldrick, Senior Turf Club Medical Officer, D.J. Benson and Mrs Carol Benson, Mother of D.J. Benson. The committee also noted a number of references and other information that had been provided.

At the outset, Andrew Coonan stated that D.J. Benson was not contesting the findings and accepted that he was in breach of Rule 277(i).

Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee accepted the guilty plea and confirmed the breach of Rule 277(i).

In arriving at penalty, the Referrals Committee took into account a number of mitigating factors specific to this case. They imposed a penalty of a two year suspension of D.J. Benson’s licence. It was agreed that they would review the matter again in six months provided that D.J. Benson positively engages in a programme. They also agreed that they would consider an application for the reinstatement of his licence at that time if he had fully cooperated with the programme. However, they said it should be noted that there was no guarantee his licence would be restored at that time.

The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Solicitor, Head of Licensing, Legal and Compliance, D.J. Benson was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley, Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.


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