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Ger Fox (Rider) – Banned Substance Galway, 10th October 2017

The Referrals Committee, Justice Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Justice Leonie Reynolds and Laurence McFerran met at the Croke Park Hotel, Jones Road, Dublin 3 on Thursday, 30th November 2017 to consider a report from IMIM Hospitaldelmar in Barcelona, Spain, that a sample of urine taken from Ger Fox, Rider, during in-competition testing at Galway Racecourse, Co. Galway on 10th October 2017 was found to contain Benzoylecgonine (metabolite of cocaine).

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

Ger Fox accepted the results of the A sample and did not request that the ‘B’ sample be analysed.

Evidence was heard from Dr Adrian McGoldrick, Senior Turf Club Medical Officer, Ger Fox and Gavin Cromwell, employer of Ger Fox. The committee also noted a number of references and other information that had been provided.

At the outset, Andrew Coonan stated that Ger Fox was not contesting the findings and accepted that he was in breach of Rule 277(i).

In arriving at penalty, the Referrals Committee took into account a number of mitigating factors. They imposed a penalty of a two year suspension of Ger Fox’s licence. It was agreed that they would review the matter again in five and a half months provided that Ger Fox submits to a random testing programme with Dr. McGoldrick under which he must agree to make himself available for testing within 24 hours of being asked and that he continues to have the support of his employer, Gavin Cromwell. The reinstatement of his licence is subject to a hearing in advance of the projected date of return to ensure that he has complied with the terms and conditions set out by the Referrals Committee.

The Referrals Committee asked it be noted that in the event there is a further breach of this rule by Ger Fox within the next two years that the suspended portion of this penalty be activated as well as any penalty which may apply for the new rule breach.

The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Solicitor, Head of Licensing, Legal and Compliance, Ger Fox was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley, Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.

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