Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Michael Butler - Haveahaarth Referral

Michael Butler – “Haveahaarth” Prohibited Substance

Dundalk – 5th December 2010

The Referrals Committee, Neville O’Byrne (in the Chair), Ms. Meta Osborne and J.R. Craigie met in the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Thursday, 3rd March 2011, to consider a report from BHP Laboratories in Limerick that the biological fluid sample taken from “Haveahaarth”, trained by Michael Butler, following its win in the Crowne Plaza Race and Stay Package 3-y-o Handicap at Dundalk on 5th December 2010, was found to contain Caffeine which under Rule 20(v) and Regulation R14 is a prohibited substance.  In advance of the hearing Michael Butler had accepted the results of the ‘A’ sample test and did not request the ‘B’ sample to be tested.

Evidence was heard from Michael Butler, trainer, Michael Butler Jnr. (trainers assistant) and S.W.D. McIlveen, Senior Turf Club Veterinary Officer.  In his evidence Michael Butler said he had no idea how Caffeine was found in the sample other than to suggest that it may have arisen from contaminated feed or that the horse had picked it up from contaminated bedding as it was stabled overnight at Dundalk racecourse in advance of the racemeeting.

Michael Butler Jnr. Said he brought the horse to Dundalk on the day before the racemeeting due to the poor condition of the roads.  As racing was taking place when he arrived, he had to put the horse into a stable that had already been used and the bedding had not been cleaned out.  He also said that as far as he was aware there was no security on the stable yard overnight.  However, he confirmed that he had no idea why the sample was positive. 

S.W.D. McIlveen said that Caffeine is a stimulant and is prohibited at any level.  He confirmed that it does affect a horses performance.

Having considered the evidence the Committee fined Michael Butler €2,500.  In arriving at their decision the Committee took into account that this was Mr. Butler’s second prohibited substance rule breach in two years for the same substance.

The Committee also disqualified “Haveahaarth” from first place and ordered the records be amended to read as follows:-

First:  Maunsells Duke
Second: Orpens Peach
Third:  Annakeen
Fourth: Miss Martinstown

The case was presented to the Committee by Denis Egan, Chief Executive of the Turf Club.


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