Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

J.A. Stack (Trainer) Prohibited Substance Referral - Cork, 31st March 2018

The Referrals Committee, John Moloney (in the chair), Jack Rearden and John Murphy met at the Stewards Room, Punchestown Racecourse, Co. Kildare on Wednesday, 25th April 2018 to consider whether or not J.A. Stack, 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 Iiex Excelsa following her win in the Ticket Sales Online @ corkracecourse.ie Maiden (Plus 10 Race) on 31st March 2018 was found to contain triamcinolone acetonide (TCA). Under Rule 20 (v) and Regulation R14 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules TCA is a prohibited substance.

The trainer did not request that the B sample be tested and accepted the results of the A sample.

Evidence was heard from Dr Lynn Hillyer, Chief Veterinary Officer and Head of Anti-Doping, J.A. Stack and Fernando Garcia, Mr. Stack’s veterinary surgeon. The Committee also noted a report from Dr. Lynn Hillyer following a visit to Mr Stack’s Training Establishment on 20th April 2018.

In her evidence, Dr. Hillyer said that TCA is a corticosteroid drug legitimately and commonly used in equine veterinary medicine. It has effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and so is often used to treat joint inflammation, sometimes in combination with other medications. It is usually administered intra-articularly (into a joint).

As a potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic drug, TCA is a prohibited substance on race day under Rule 20(v) and Regulation R14 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules.

Dr. Hillyer said that it is difficult to give an accurate detection time for the drug because of the variability in the way the drug is given. Dr. Hillyer noted that the administration of TCA was properly recorded in the Medicines Register which meant that the issue could be rapidly identified and effectively dealt with. She complimented Mr. Stack on the quality of his records of medicines administration.  In conclusion, Dr. Hillyer said that Mr. Stack had an elective sample taken from the horse after the positive test and that a result is awaited from the laboratory. 

In his evidence, J.A. Stack accepted that he was in breach of Rule 96(a). He said the filly was treated on 17th March and that he thought he had left plenty of time for the drug to have left the horse’s system prior to running her at Cork based on his previous experience of using the drug on other horses. He said he felt that, in the circumstances, he had taken reasonable precautions to avoid a breach of the rule.

In his evidence, Fernando Garcia said that the filly was slightly lame, and he decided to inject the filly. He said he thought that the period of 14 days between the time of the injection and the race day was sufficient for the horse to be clear.

Having considered the evidence the Committee were satisfied that J.A. Stack was in breach of Rule 96 (a).

The Committee disqualified Iiex Excelsa from first place and ordered that the race result be amended to read as follows: -

First:                Luzum

Second:            King of Leinster

Third:               Impossibility

Fourth:             Scream

Fifth:                Twenty Minutes

They imposed a fine of €1,000   on J.A. Stack but waived the fine as they felt that he had taken all precautions to avoid a breach of the rule. They ordered that he pay a contribution of €300 towards the IHRB’s costs. They also ordered that Iiex Excelsa be suspended from running until the elective test result is negative.

The case presented to the Committee by Paul Murtagh, Head of Raceday Operations.


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