Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Eoghan O'Grady (Trainer) Referral - Fairyhouse 15th December 2018

The Referrals Committee, Justice Tony Hunt (in the chair), Philip McLernon and Sean Barry convened at the office of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), The Curragh, Co Kildare on Friday, 7th June 2019 to consider whether or not Eoghan O’Grady, 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 Mick The Jiver following his win in the Sky Sports Racing Launching January 1st Handicap Steeplechase at Fairyhouse on 15th December 2018 was found to contain cobalt at a concentration of 207 ng/ml which is above the international threshold of 100 ng/ml. Under Rule 20 (v) and Regulation R14 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules cobalt is a prohibited substance when present at such concentrations.

The trainer accepted the results of the A sample and so did not request analysis of the B sample.

Evidence was heard from Dr Lynn Hillyer, Chief Veterinary Officer and Head of Anti-Doping and Mr. O’Grady.

The Committee also noted a report from Veterinary Officer Ms. Nicola O’Connor following a visit to Mr. O’Grady’s Training Establishment on 2nd January 2019 and a report summarising the investigation into the adverse analytical finding submitted by Dr. Lynn Hillyer.

In her evidence, Dr. Hillyer said that the trainer was advised of the screening finding for cobalt during the inspection of the licensed premises. During the inspection a list of feedstuffs and supplements which had been given to the horse was compiled and the horse sampled. It was noted that the horse had access to a Baby Red Rockies salt lick at all times up to and including the morning of the race. Comparison of analysis of the inspection and post-race samples for cobalt and vitamin B12 provided evidence that the salt lick which contained cobalt salt was likely the source of the adverse analytical finding for cobalt.

In his evidence, Mr. O’Grady accepted that he was in breach of Rule 96(a). He said that he had removed the salt licks from the stables of horses returned in training following the Referrals Committee decision published on the 21st December 2018 due to concerns regarding the concentration of cobalt but this unfortunately post-dated the race in question.

Having considered the evidence, the Committee were satisfied that Mr. O’Grady was in breach of Rule 96(a) and Rule 87(vi)(d). They disqualified Mick the Jiver ordered that the stake be forfeited and amended the result of the race to read as follows:-

First: Consharon Boy

Second: Kilkishen

Third: Nobody Home

Fourth: Dinnie’s Vinnie

Fifth: Capture the Drama

In considering penalty the Committee noted that the Trainer had provided full cooperation to the investigation and at the time of the horse being sampled the Trainer was not aware of the ingredients of the “salt lick”. They 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 and that the substance had been administered unknowingly.

It was noted that trainers would be expected to be aware of the risk of using salt licks subsequent to the decision of the Referrals Committee on 21st December 2018 where a salt lick was found to be the source of an adverse analytical finding. The Committee noted that it is a matter for trainers to ensure that they are fully aware of the contents and ingredients in anything provided to their horses.

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


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