Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Noel Meade (Trainer) “Very Wood” Referral - Prohibited Substance, Navan 15 February 2015

The Referrals Committee, Sean Barry (in the Chair), Philip Caffrey and Robert Dore met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Thursday 14th May 2015, to consider a report from Laboratiore des Courses Hippiques in Paris stating that the biological fluid sample taken from “Very Wood”, following its win at Navan on 15th February 2015, was found to contain Capsaicine which, under Rule 20(v) and Regulation R14, is a prohibited substance. The trainer requested that the “B” sample be tested and the sample which was tested by LGC in Newmarket confirmed the findings of Capsaicine.

Evidence was heard from Dr Thomas Barragry, pharmacologist and Michael Grassick representing Noel Meade.  The Committee also considered a letter from Trinity Consultants, who were the suppliers of the product used by Noel Meade, which was the source of the prohibited substance.

In his evidence Dr Tom Barragry said that Capsaicine is an irritant distasteful powder which is found in chilli’s.  It gives a burning sensation and he noted that it had been incorporated into a number of crib-biting solutions.  He said if used as a liniment it can reduce pain and inflammation by increasing circulation locally.  It has a pain killing and anti-inflammatory effect when rubbed into the skin.  It is a prohibited substance because it is an anti-inflammatory.  He said it generally isn’t a product that is administered as it is given topically on the skin.

In his evidence, Michael Grassick said that he had been asked to represent Mr Meade who was away.  He submitted a letter from Trinity Consultant who supplied the product “Liver, Kidney Lymph Detox and Pick Me Up for Racehorses” used by Mr Meade.  The suppliers stated that they were not aware that red pepper was a prohibited substance and that a small amount of this was included in the formula of the product used by Mr Meade.  They accepted that the product stated that the formula did not contain any substance included in the list of prohibited substances and that this was incorrect.  They also accepted that any fault was theirs and not Mr Meade’s.  They stated that red pepper will not be included in any of their formulae in future.

Having considered the evidence, the Committee found that Noel Meade was in breach of Rule 96(a) as the sample taken from “Very Wood” showed the presence of a prohibited substance.  However they accepted Mr Meade had used the product on the basis of the information contained on the label which had stated it did not contain any prohibited substances.  No fine was imposed as the prohibited substance was administered unknowingly and they accepted that he had taken all reasonable precautions to avoid a breach of the Rule.  The Committee ordered that Mr Meade pay for the cost of analysis of the “B” sample and Turf Club costs of €750.  They further ordered  “Very Wood” to be disqualified from first place in the race.

The result now reads:

First:   Noble Emperor

Second:  Thunder And Roses

Third:   Urano (FR)

Fourth:  Apache Jack

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, solicitor, Naas, Co. Kildare.


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