Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Muredach Kelly "King's Light" Referral

Muredach Kelly – “King’s Light” Prohibited Substance
Wexford – 17th March 2011

The Referrals Committee, Neville O’Byrne (in the Chair), Sean Barry and Mrs. Valerie Cooper met at the Turf Club, The Curragh , Co. Kildare on 7th April 2011, to consider a report from BHP Laboratories in Limerick stating that the biological fluid sample taken from “King’s Light”, trained by Muredach Kelly, following its win in the Michael O’Murchadha Memorial Novice Handicap Hurdle at Wexford on 17th March 2011, was found to contain Flunixin which, under Rule 20(v) and Regulation R14, is a prohibited substance.  Muredach Kelly had confirmed in advance that he was accepting the results of the ‘A’ sample and that he did not require the ‘B’ sample to be tested.

Evidence was heard from Dr. Tom Barragry, Pharmacologist and Muredach Kelly. 

Dr. Barragry told the Committee that the substance found “Flunixin” is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.  It is a synthetic compound that is not found in the body or in feed which exists as a pharmacological product.  He said it is widely used and reduces swelling and inflammation.  He confirmed that it acts on the musculoskeletal system.  Dr. Barragry said that the use of Flunixin is allowed as a therapeutic drug provided a horse does not race when it is in its system.  He referred to a number of studies which have been carried out and stated that the detection time published for Flunixin is 6 days.  However, in order to calculate the withdrawal time a further 3-4 days would need to be added.

Muredach Kelly confirmed that Flunixin was administered by his vet to King’s Light on 10th March to treat an ailment (this fact was confirmed in writing by Mr. Kelly’s vet).  He was advised to allow a minimum of 6 days prior to racing the horse, so as the substance would have left the horse’s system.  As such he felt it was safe to run the horse at Wexford.  He accepted full responsibility for what happened.

Having considered the evidence, the Committee imposed a fine of €1,000 on Mr. Kelly.

The Committee also disqualified “King’s Light” from first place and ordered the records be amended to read as follows:

 First:  Breeze With Ease
 Second: Menwaal (FR)
 Third:  Viaduct Bud
 Fourth:  Strategic Alliance

The case was presented to the Committee by Denis Egan, Chief Executive of the Turf Club.  Muredach Kelly was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.


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