Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Patrick G. Kelly (Handler) - Referral - Belclare, 11th March, 2018

The Referrals Committee, Mr. Justice Tony Hunt (in the chair), Mr. P.J.A. O’Connor and Mr. Philip Caffrey met at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Tuesday 25th September 2018, to consider reports from LGC Laboratories, Cambridgeshire, UK, that the Sample taken from “Warendorf (FR)” following his win in the 5&6-year-old Geldings Maiden in the North Galway Point to Point meeting at Belclare on 11th March, 2018, was found to contain cobalt. Under Rule 20(v) of the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Regulations for Point to Point Steeplechases, cobalt is a prohibited substance when present in concentrations above the international threshold for plasma of 25ng/ml as set out in Rule 20(v) and Regulation R14 of the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Regulations for Point to Point Steeplechases.

The handler, Mr. Patrick G. Kelly requested that the “B” portion of the Sample be tested and the results of the analysis carried out at Laboratoire des Courses Hippiques confirmed the “A” portion of the Sample findings. The concentration found was 38.8ng/ml for the A portion of the Sample and 38.3ng/ml for the B portion of the Sample.

Evidence was heard from Dr. Lynn Hillyer, IHRB Chief Veterinary Officer/Head of Anti-Doping regarding the investigation into the adverse analytical finding and Associate Professor Stuart Paine, University of Nottingham, who provided an expert report. Evidence was also heard from Mr. Kelly, handler and Dr. Vivian Gath, University College Dublin, on behalf of Mr. Kelly.

Having considered the evidence the Committee were satisfied that Mr. Kelly was in breach of Rule 96(a). They disqualified “Warendorf (FR)”, ordered that the stake be forfeited and amended the result of the race to read as follows:-

First:                Burgess King               

The Committee noted that two competing hypotheses had been presented by the parties but that they were satisfied that the IHRB evidence was sufficiently strong and scientifically based to be relied on. They accepted that the most probable explanation was that the horse was exposed to cobalt proximate to race. They found that the handler was generally responsible under Rule 148(i) for all matters relating to the welfare, training and running of horses but, given certain unusual and specific aspects of the case they accepted Mr. Kelly’s assurance that he had not administered anything to the horse. They did not find sufficient evidence to suspend the permit in the submissions before them. They imposed a fine of €1,000 under Rule 96(a) as reasonable precautions had not been taken by the handler to ensure that a breach did not occur. They awarded costs of €3,000 to the IHRB.

Mr. Kelly was represented by Mr. Karl Finnegan B.L. instructed by Mr. Andrew Coonan of Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Wolfe Tone House, Naas Town Centre, Naas, Co. Kildare.

The case was presented by Ms. Cliodhna Guy, Head of Legal, Licensing & Compliance.


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