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Brian McMahon (Trainer), Prohibited Substance Referral – Sligo, 16th July 2017

 The Referrals Committee, Justice Tony Hunt (in the chair), Nicholas P. Lambert and Anthony Byrne met at the Turf Club, The Curragh on Tuesday, 29th August 2017 to consider whether or not Brian McMahon, Trainer, was in breach of any rules as a result of a report from BHP Laboratories in Limerick, which stated that the sample taken from Se Mo Laoch following his win in the Durkin Bros. Electrical Handicap at Sligo on 16th July 2017 was found to contain methylprednisolone which, under Rule 20(v), is a Prohibited Substance. The Trainer accepted the result of the A sample and did not request that the B sample be tested.

Methylprednisolone is a long-acting corticosteroid drug legitimately used in veterinary medicine. It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and so is used to treat acute and chronic inflammatory musculoskeletal conditions such as degenerative joint disease. It is a Prohibited Substance if detected on a raceday but is permitted to be used in training.

Evidence was heard from Dr. Lynn Hillyer and Brian McMahon.

In her evidence, Dr. Lynn Hillyer said that in her opinion, a source for the post-race finding of methylprednisolone had been identified; the gelding had received an administration of Depo-Medrone V (which contains methylprednisolone) intra-articularly into the right fore fetlock joint on 12th May 2017, co-administered with Adcortyl (triamcinolone acetonide). She noted that although some 9 weeks had passed between the administration and the race, Depo-Medrone V is a long-acting preparation; when given alongside another corticosteroid, its excretion is more unpredictable. She concluded by saying that there are no formal Detection Times for either substance.

In his evidence, Brian McMahon outlined the background to the administration of the substances. He said that the horse was lame on 8th May 2017 and he brought him to the Veterinary Clinic to be examined. The veterinary surgeon administered the substances and recommended that the horse didn’t race for 30 days. Mr. McMahon went on to say that he waited a further 33 days to race the horse which meant that the horse only raced 63 days post treatment. As such he was very surprised when the horse’s sample had come back positive. He said the horse was electively tested on 15th August 2017 and that the sample was still positive. He has now let the horse out to the field and will have the horse retested again before he runs to ensure that he is clear.

Having considered the evidence the Committee were satisfied that Brian McMahon was in breach of Rule 96(a).

The Committee disqualified Se Mo Laoch from first place and ordered the race result be amended to read as follows:-


First: Captains And Kings
Second: Royal Roslea (GB)
Third: Slaney Craiglegacy
Fourth: Colette’s Choice
Fifth: Glasson Lad
Sixth: Miss McElroy

In view of the fact that Mr. McMahon had taken a responsible approach to running the horse after the treatment, had taken all reasonable precautions to avoid a breach of the rule and had taken up the Turf Club facility for an elective test, the Committee waived the fine. No costs were imposed on Mr. McMahon as the committee were impressed with the way he had approached the case.

The case was presented to the Committee by Cliodhna Guy, Turf Club Head of Legal & Compliance.

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