Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

J.C. Tobin Prof Jockey - Banned Substance Punchestown 24 Apr 2013

The Referrals Committee, Judge Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Mrs. J.O. Onions and Con O’Mahony met at the Turf Club, the Curragh, Co. Kildare on Thursday, 22nd August 2013 to consider a report from IMIM Hospitaldelmar in Barcelona, Spain that a sample of urine taken from J.C.Tobin, Professional Jockey, during in-competition testing on 24th April 2013 at Punchestown Racecourse, Co. Kildare, was found to contain Amphetamine.   Amphetamine is a banned substance because it is a stimulant prohibited in-competition pursuant to the World Anti-Doping Code Prohibited List, as adopted by the Turf Club.  As J.C. Tobin did not indicate within 14 days of the date of notification of the “A” sample result whether or not he wanted the “B” sample to be tested, he was deemed to have accepted the result of the “A” sample analysis under the provisions of Rule 278 (vi)(c).

Evidence was heard from Dr. Adrian McGoldrick, Senior Turf Club Medical Officer and J.C. Tobin.

In his evidence, Dr. McGoldrick said that amphetamines are a stimulant of the central nervous system that produce increased wakefulness and decreased fatigue and appetite.

They are used as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactive disorder and narcolepsy.  They increase activity related to the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.  This causes resistance to fatigue, elevation of mood, euphoria, and loss of appetite.

Repeated high dose exposure can lead to a mental state characterized by delusions, psychosis and paranoia.  Physical side effects can include dilated pupils, increase or decrease in heart rate, high or low blood pressure, restlessness, headache, fever, blurred vision, reduced seizure threshold, insomnia.  Renal (kidney) failure may occur secondary to dehydration.  Amphetamines are ranked the 9th most addictive and 6th most harmful of 20 popular recreational drugs.  Amphetamines are eliminated via the kidneys with 70% being cleared in 24 hours.

In his evidence, J.C. Tobin said he had no idea how amphetamine was found in his sample, as he did not take the substance.  He accepted he was in breach of Rule 277.

Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee found that J.C. Tobin was in breach of Rule 277.  In arriving at their decision on penalty, the Committee noted that it was his first offence and that it appeared that he had unintentionally taken the substance.  As such, they were giving him the benefit of the doubt in relation to the matter.  The Committee also took into account submissions made by Andrew Coonan in relation to Mr. Tobin’s personal circumstances.

The Committee imposed a six month disqualification on J.C. Tobin, which they suspended for two years, provided:

a) J.C. Tobin does not commit any other similar offence under Turf Club rules and in the event that he does, the penalty can be activated at any time by the matter being referred to the Referrals Committee.  At that time the Committee may also impose any other penalty they feel is relevant in relation to any subsequent offence committed during the period of suspension.  The relevant date in respect of any subsequent offence is the date of commission thereof and not the date of activation, or any other date. b) J.C. Tobin agrees to be placed under the supervision of Dr. Adrian McGoldrick and complies with any medical requests made by Dr. McGoldrick.  They gave leave for the matter to be referred back to the Referrals Committee at any time, if Dr. McGoldrick is unhappy with the level of co-operation, and the Referrals Committee may at their discretion order that the above disqualification be imposed, if this occurs within a period of two years from today’s date.

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Solicitor, Naas, Co. Kildare.  J.C. Tobin was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.


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