Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Michael P. Ryan – Banned Substance - Leopardstown 9 Feb 2014

The Referrals Committee, Judge Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Philip Caffrey and Nicholas Lambert met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Wednesday, 16th April 2014 to consider a report from IMIM Hospitaldelmar in Barcelona, Spain, regarding the fact that a sample of urine taken from Michael P. Ryan (Qualified Rider), during in-competition testing on 9th February 2014 at Leopardstown Racecourse, Co. Dublin 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 re-absorption 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.  As Michael P. Ryan 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 Michael P. Ryan. The Committee also considered a written submission from Dr. Adrian McGoldrick Senior Turf Club Medical Officer.  

In his evidence Michael P. Ryan outlined the background to what occurred.  

He said that he had been using a herbal diuretic which he bought over the counter to help flush out his system to encourage the drinking of water, as this assisted him running competitively which he did in his spare time.  He said that he had run out of the herbal diuretics and used a diuretic he found at home belonging to a relative.  He said he didn’t realize that diuretics were prohibited and he was very embarrassed by what occurred. He said he did not need to take diuretics to reduce weight and assured the committee that it wouldn’t happen again.  He concluded by saying that he accepted that he was in breach of Rule 277(i).  

In his submission Dr. McGoldrick said that Furosemide is a loop diuretic.  It is called a loop diuretic as it works in the loop of henle in the kidney.  It is a potent diuretic and leads to rapid diuresis i.e. fluid loss.  It acts by inhibiting the re-absorption of sodium and chloride and increases loss of magnesium and calcium.  

The onset of action after oral administration is within one hour and fluid loss continues for 6-8 hours.  

In medical practice it is used for the treatment of fluid retention due to heart failure and to lower blood pressure.  It is also used in the treatment of cirrhosis of the liver and other conditions where rapid fluid loss is required e.g. cerebral oedema (brain swelling).  

Side effects include dehydration, low blood pressure, loss of sodium and potassium leading to cramps and in more severe cases irregularity of the heart.  

It is described as a masking agent for other chemicals in that by diluting the urine, other chemicals may not be detected.  

Having considered the evidence the Committee confirmed the Rule breach and fined Michael P. Ryan €300.  They also ordered that he pay costs of €130.  In addition they cautioned him to be more careful in future.  

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Wilkinson & Price Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.  Michael P. Ryan was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.


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