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G.P. Brouder (Rider) Banned substance Referral – Gowran Park 10th May 2023

The Referrals Committee, Mr. Justice Tony Hunt (Chair), Dr. Paddy Molony and Mr. Laurence McFerran convened in the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on Monday, 24th July 2023 to consider a report received from Laboratori Antidopatge de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain on 1st June 2023, that a urine sample taken from Gearóid Brouder (Rider) during in-competition testing at Gowran Park on 10th May 2023 was found to contain benzoylecgonine (metabolite of cocaine).

Under the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules, benzoylecgonine is a banned substance because it acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system with addictive and hallucinogenic properties. It is prohibited in-competition pursuant to the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List International Standard as adopted by the IHRB.

Mr. Brouder accepted the result of the ‘A’ sample.

Evidence was heard from Dr. Jennifer Pugh, IHRB Chief Medical Officer, and submissions were made on behalf of Mr. Brouder by Richard Wixted B.L..

In her evidence, Dr. Pugh explained that Mr. Brouder’s sample was confirmed positive for benzoylegonine by Laboratori Antidopatge de Catalunya on 1st June following a fixture at Gowran Park in May when all riders participating at the meeting were subject to testing. Dr. Pugh explained that the urine sample had tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine, consistent with use 3-4 days prior to the test. Dr. Pugh set out the details of her previous dealings with Mr. Brouder and relayed some of the personal circumstances she was aware of. It was noted that Mr. Brouder had not engaged with any support services offered prior to this hearing.  

In his submissions Mr. Wixted stated that Mr. Brouder accepted the finding and would engage with the support systems in place in an attempt to resume his career at the earliest opportunity.

Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee accepted the admission by Mr. Brouder and confirmed the breach of Rule 277(i). The decision of the panel is set out below:

“Having regard to the evidence in this case, we find that Mr. Brouder has committed a doping offence in breach of Rule 277(i), and we must impose an appropriate sanction on Mr. Brouder under Rules 279 and 280.

We have considered the evidence of Dr. Pugh, the submissions by Mr. Wixted on behalf of Mr. Brouder and the submissions on behalf of the IHRB to the effect that this case is differentiated from similar previous cases by reason of Mr. Brouder’s lack of engagement with Dr. Pugh prior to the hearing.

In this regard, we take into account the admissions made on behalf of Mr. Brouder this morning as a signal of his intent to co-operate with Dr. Pugh in the future.  In consequence, we do not propose to treat Mr. Brouder in a less favourable manner than the riders in the previous cases.  We therefore impose the same initial sanction of suspension of his Riders’ licence for a period of four years.  This is to reflect the “zero tolerance” approach stated by the IHRB in respect of such offences.

We anticipate that any lack of co-operation to date arises from Mr. Brouder’s specific personal circumstances.  Whilst accepting as reasonable the suggestion of the IHRB that a differential approach should apply in this case, in the light of the severe financial and other consequences of a lengthy suspension, we have decided that we should stay our hand for the moment and give Mr. Brouder an opportunity to apply to this Committee in 12 months’ time for a deferral of the balance of the suspension applicable at that time.

This is on the strict understanding that previous deficiencies in his approach to rehabilitation will not be repeated, and that the Committee will scrutinise closely Dr. Pugh’s progress report. We are effectively placing the matter with Dr. Pugh over the next year, and it is for her to prescribe on our behalf the steps to be taken by Mr. Brouder, including, but not limited to, counselling and advice from an appropriate expert. Dr. Pugh has a blank canvas in treating Mr. Brouder and helping him to avail of a final opportunity to continue on the straight and narrow.  The Committee will require full compliance by Mr. Brouder with every aspect of Dr Pugh’s future directions should he intend to reapply for permission to hold his licence after 12 months.”

The case was presented by Ms. Clíodhna Guy, IHRB Head of Licensing, Legal and Compliance. Mr. Brouder was represented by Mr. Richard Wixted B.L., instructed by Mr. Brian Larkin, Solicitor, Naas, County Kildare.

Suspension commences: 28th July 2023

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