Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Francis Lawlor Referral Hearing

Francis Lawlor – Banned Substance
Leopardstown  24th January 2010


The Referrals Committee, Dr. Gordon A. Holmes (in the Chair), John G. Moloney and Mrs. J.O. Onions met in the Stewards Room, Punchestown Racecourse, Co. Kildare on 22nd April 2010 to consider a report from IMIM Hospitaldelmar in Barcelona, Spain regarding the fact that a sample of urine taken from Francis Lawlor, rider, during in-competition testing on 24th January 2010 at Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin 18 was found to contain Furosemide.  Under the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules Furosemide is a banned substance because it is a diuretic which acts on the kidneys and inhibits the reabsorbsion of water and has a diuretic effect.  Furosemide is prohibited in-competition pursuant to the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List International Standard as adopted by the Turf Club.  Francis Lawlor, through his solicitors, Coonan Cawley, accepted the findings of the ‘A’ sample and did not request the ‘B’ sample to be tested.


Evidence was heard from Dr. Adrian McGoldrick, Senior Turf Club Medical Officer and Francis Lawlor.

In his evidence Dr. McGoldrick stated that Furosemide was a very potent diuretic which is used for amongst other things rapid weight loss.  He said it was not performance enhancing but that it can lead to acute dehydration which is dangerous.

Francis Lawlor accepted that he took diuretic pills to reduce weight to make a low weight for one of his rides on the day in question at Leopardstown.  He stated that he did not know that Furosemide was a prohibited substance.  He said that he now has his weight under control as a result of changing his diet and undertaking an exercise regime.

Having considered the evidence the Committee found Francis Lawlor in breach of Rule 277(i) and fined him €350.  They also ordered that he pay costs of €250.  He was further ordered to undertake a dexa scan to assess his body fat composition and carry out any subsequent directives issued by Dr. McGoldrick as a result of the scan.  In arriving at the level of the fine the Committee were critical of Mr. Lawlor’s knowledge of the rules.  They also said that but for the way that he met the case in admitting guilt at an early stage that the fine would have been considerably higher and there was a strong chance of a suspension also being imposed.

The case was presented by Denis Egan, Chief Executive of the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare and Francis Lawlor was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.


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