Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

David M. Christie, “The Hard Hat” Prohibited Substance, Westmeath (F) Point to Point, 5th Apr, 2015.

The Referrals Committee, C.P. Magnier (in the Chair), J.R. Craigie and Philip Caffrey, met in the Turf Club Office, The Curragh, Co. Kildare, on Tuesday, 19th May, 2015, to consider a report from BHP Laboratories in Limerick which stated that the biological fluid sample taken from “The Hard Hat” following that horse’s win in the Open Lightweight Race at Westmeath (F) Point to Point on 5th April, 2015, was found to contain Frusemide, which under Rule 20 (v) and Regulation R14 is a Prohibited Substance.

The Committee considered a written submission from Dr. Tom Barragry, Pharmacologist, which summarised the effects of frusemide on a horses’ system.  Frusemide is a diuretic which acts upon the kidneys, urinary system and vascular system.  It is also regarded as a masking agent.  It is used therapeutically for diuretic purposes and also to treat horses that haemorrhage through the nasal septum after intensive exercise.

The Committee also considered evidence from Andrew Tyrell M.R.C.V.S., Turf Club Veterinary Officer, and from David M. Christie, handler. 

In his evidence Andrew Tyrrell re-affirmed the contents of Dr. Barragry’s submission on frusemide.  He conducted an examination of Mr. Christie’s premises prior to today’s hearing and noted that various treatments administered to the animals in his care were meticulously recorded.  He noted that two animals were recorded as being treated with Dimazon on various dates while others had received multivitamins and CombiVit treatments.  An employee had administered treatments to the horses on Mr. Christie’s behalf on various dates and these were recorded and signed by Mr. Christie in the medicines register.  Mr. Tyrrell highlighted that Dimazon contained frusemide and was a POM.  

In his evidence David Christie stated he was incapacitated for a considerable period of time having sustained a leg injury in a riding accident which required him to be hospitalised and rendered him immobile and unable to attend to his normal duties.  The role of administration and general stable duties, including the treatment of horses, was delegated to an employee and on the morning of April 5th a number of horses in his care were treated with medication and multivitamins.  One particular animal received an injectable treatment of Dimazon, while other horses received multivitamins and CombiVit on the same day.  He suggested there may have been an error in the administration of medication on this date and explained that “The Hard Hat” had previously won a Point to Point this season and the test samples then were obviously free of any prohibited substance.

Having considered the evidence the Committee were satisfied that David M. Christie was in breach of Rule 96 and taking all circumstances into account fined him €500.  They were satisfied with the veracity of his evidence but stressed that responsibility rested with him to ensure that he complies with the provisions of Regulation R14.  The Committee disqualified The Hard Hat from first place and ordered the records be amended to read as follows.

First:  Gullivar,
Second:  Jack Aboo,
Third:  Highdownhill (NZ).

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


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