Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Michael O'Hare - Arctic Mick Referral

Michael O’Hare – “Arctic Mick” Prohibited Substance
Navan – 25th January 2011

The Referrals Committee, Neville O’Byrne (in the Chair), John Powell and Hugh Ferguson met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Monday, 21st March 2011, to consider a report from BHP Laboratories in Limerick stating that the biological fluid sample taken from “Arctic Mick”, trained by Michael O’Hare, following its win in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Steeplechase at Navan on 25th January 2011, was found to contain Dexmethasone which, under Rule 20(v) and Regulation R14, is a prohibited substance.  The finding was confirmed by LCH in France.

Evidence was heard from Dr. Thomas Barragry, Pharmacologist, Michael O’Hare and Donnacha Houlihan (Mr. O’Hare’s veterinary surgeon).  In his evidence Dr. Barragry said that Dexmethasone is an anti-inflammatory compound which reduces pain and is prohibited at any level.  He said there was no recommended withdrawal period published for Dexmethasone.

Michael O’Hare accepted the evidence of Dr. Barragry and the findings of the laboratory.  He said that Dexmethasone had been administered to two horses at the same time together with another compound.  He was led to believe that the substance would be gone out of the horses system after 14 days.  However, this had not occurred.

In his evidence Donnacha Houlihan confirmed the background to the administration and was surprised that Arctic Mick was positive bearing in mind the other horse which received Dexmethasone had also won the same day and his sample was negative.  However, he did accept that this was entirely possible.

Having considered the evidence the Committee noted that the substance was administered knowingly to the horse, and while they accepted that the trainer thought the substance would have cleared the horses system, they fined him €1,000 and ordered that he pay 75% of Turf Club costs.

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

First:  Supreme Builder (GB)
Second: Hidden Present
Third:  Twice The Craic
Fourth:  Some Legend

The case was presented to the Committee by Conal Boyce, Wilkinson & Price Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.


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