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D.N. Russell Referral Hearing

D.N. Russell Referral – Naas, 20th February 2011

The Referrals Committee, Neville O’Byrne (in the chair), Philip Caffrey and J.R. Craigie met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on 20th June 2011 to consider the referral of D.N. Russell, rider in respect of the sequence of events which occurred at Naas on 20th February 2011 following his failure to report to the Doping Control Station on two separate occasions, having been requested to do so before eventually reporting at 17.51.  The matter was referred to the Referrals Committee by Denis Egan, Chief Executive.

Evidence was heard from Al Guy, Doping Control Officer, Brendan Sheridan, Clerk of the Course, Joseph Mallon, Chaperone, Denis Egan and Edward O’Leary, Racing Manager Gigginstown House Stud. The Committee also considered a written version of events submitted by Coonan Cawley Solicitors on behalf of D.N. Russell.

In his evidence, Al Guy outlined what occurred on the afternoon in question.  He said that David Russell was originally requested at 13.36 to attend the Doping Control Unit no later than 14.30.  When he didn’t show he was again contacted after he rode in the 15.05 race.  He then visited the Doping Control Unit and was unable to provide a sample.  As a result his reporting time was extended to his last ride, plus 20 minutes.  He said Mr. Russell’s last ride was at 16.10 and that he was involved in stewards enquiry following that race.  When he emerged from the enquiry he was again requested to attend the Doping Control Unit.  He said that David Russell informed him that he would once he showered and changed.  However, he subsequently became re-involved with the Jockeys Olympics which were being staged at Naas that day and then involved with his employers Gigginstown House Stud in the parade ring in advance of the bumper.  When he left the parade ring he went towards the restaurant and was observed in that area.  However, he subsequently disappeared from sight.  Al Guy told the Committee that he reported the matter to the Stewards after the last race as he was unaware of the whereabouts of Mr. Russell.  He said that David Russell was paged over the public address system to attend the stewards enquiry but that he didn’t attend.  However, during the enquiry Al Guy received a phone call from his assistant, Leonie Guy to say that David Russell’s agent had informed her that David Russell was in the car park and was on his way back.  Al Guy concluded by saying that David Russell arrived back to the Doping Control Unit at 17.51 and apologised for his absence and that he agreed to take the sample from Mr. Russell on a “without prejudice” basis.  During cross examination from Andrew Coonan, Solicitor on behalf of D.N. Russell, Al Guy confirmed that a certain degree of flexibility was given to riders with regard to reporting times in view of their commitments on a race day and the difficulties they have on occasions in providing samples.

In his evidence, Brendan Sheridan stated that he received a call from D.N. Russell after racing to say that he was on his way back to the racecourse and asked him to inform the Stewards of this.  Brendan confirmed that when he went to the Stewards Room area, the Stewards were already aware of this fact.

In his evidence, Joseph Mallon confirmed to the Committee that he had informed D.N. Russell that he was required to report to the Doping Control Unit on two occasions at 13.36 and 15.15.  He also confirmed that D.N. Russell disappeared from his view after the last race.

Denis Egan gave evidence in relation to the rules and procedures governing dope tests and how they were applied.

Edward O’Leary told the Committee that David Russell was with him in the parade ring prior to the last race and that he left the track immediately after the bumper concluded as he was attending a Cheltenham Preview Night in Dungarvan that evening.

In the written submissions made on his behalf by Coonan Cawley, David Russell stated that he forgot about the test and that he was on the motorway when he got two calls to come back to the racecourse which he did immediately.  He subsequently provided a sample at 17.59.  The result was negative.

In his closing submission, Andrew Coonan said that David Russell did not commit any offence as he had provided a sample and was not in breach of any time deadline.

Having considered the evidence the Committee accepted that the Turf Club was correct to bring the matter forward for their consideration. They accepted that D.N. Russell had genuinely forgotten about the test.  They found he was not in breach of any rule.

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Wilkinson & Price Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.  D.N. Russell was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.

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