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E. O’Grady (Trainer) Prohibited Substance Referral – Downpatrick 21st March 2021

The Referrals Committee, Mr. Peter M. Allen (in the chair), Mr. Nicholas Wachman, and Mr. Anthony Byrne convened in the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on Monday, 25th April 2022 to consider whether or not Eoghan O’Grady (Trainer) was in breach of any rules of racing as a result of a report received from LGC Laboratories, Newmarket, England.


The report stated the urine sample taken from Springfield Lodge following her win in the WKD Handicap Steeplechase on 21st March 2021 at Downpatrick Racecourse, was confirmed by LGC Laboratories (LGC) to contain tetramisole on 15th April 2021. Under Rule 20(v) and Regulation 14 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules tetramisole is a prohibited substance.


The option of ‘B’ sample analysis was requested by Mr. O’Grady. The B sample was confirmed on 27th May 2021 by LCH, France as returning an adverse analytical finding for tetramisole.  


Evidence was heard from Mr. O’Grady and Dr. Lynn Hillyer, IHRB Head of Anti-Doping and Chief Veterinary Officer.


In her evidence, Dr. Hillyer outlined the details of the IHRB investigation. Tetramisole is an isomer (chemically related form) of levamisole, an anthelmintic (‘wormer’) for cattle/sheep used off label as an immunostimulant in horses. She explained that administration of this cattle/sheep wormer to horses being associated with increased risk of an adverse analytical finding was highlighted in the IHRB’s Equine Anti-Doping roadshows in 2018, the presentation for which remains posted on the IHRB website. When contacted by Dr. Sarah Ross of the IHRB about the adverse analytical finding relating to Springfield Lodge, Mr. O’Grady was provided with certain scenarios as to a possible cause by Dr. Ross but ultimately Mr. O’Grady was unable to offer any explanation for the source of the substance.


In his evidence, Mr. O’Grady confirmed that he was unable to explain how the sample taken from Springfield Lodge contained tetramisole. He explained that he would usually purchase de-wormers for his horses himself but was unable to recall the name of the product he used. Mr. O’Grady explained that Springfield Lodge was a very bad traveller, so they had arrived at Downpatrick on the day in question approximately five hours before she was due to run. When they arrived at Downpatrick, Mr. O’Grady walked Springfield Lodge around and let her have a pick of grass and he suggested that possibly during this 45 minutes she may have been exposed to something unknowingly. The only other suggestion was that Springfield Lodge had galloped in a field where there had been some cattle grazing and that the mare had also grazed there. Mr. O’Grady said he didn’t feel comfortable asking the farmer if any products had been given during or preceding the period that the cattle were grazing on this land.


Having considered the evidence, Mr. Allen read out the following decision on behalf of the committee.


“Having considered the evidence before us today, we have found Mr. O’Grady in breach of Rule 96A. It appears to us that on the balance of probabilities and the evidence that was put to us, that it is unlikely that the animal would have picked this up from casual grazing in a field. We also note, when the initial report was made to you Dr. Ross did offer possible explanations for you to explore and see if you could source how the animal received the substance and you don’t appear to have grasped this avenue with any enthusiasm. You appear to be somewhat casual with your addressing of the farmer, that you didn’t want to upset him but I must say that once the scientific evidence is presented to us, the responsibility would rely with you to try and give us an explanation as to how that substance got into the animals system. That doesn’t appear to be given to us and nothing has been presented to us to counter the scientific evidence which we were presented. On that basis, we are going to disqualify the horse from the race in question, order that the stake be forfeited and fine you €1,000.”


The result now reads:

First:      Mullaghmurphy Blue

Second: Crack On Corrie

Third:    Fox Le Bel (FR)

Fourth:  West Is Best

Fifth:     Rubiana


The case was presented by Mr. Michael Daly, IHRB Legal Regulatory Advisor.

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