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Liam Quinlan (Rider) – Banned Substance Limerick 16th November 2021

The Referrals Committee, Mr. Justice Tony Hunt (in the chair), Mr. Nicholas Wachman and Mr. Laurence McFerran convened at The Curragh Racecourse on Monday, 11th April 2022 to consider a report from Laboratori Antidopatge de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain, that a urine sample taken from Mr. Liam Quinlan (Rider) during in-competition testing at Limerick on 16th November 2021 was found to contain Benzoylecgonine (metabolite of cocaine). They also considered the Referral of Mr. Quinlan from Friday 29th November 2019, where he was found in breach of Rule 277 (i) in that he had committed a doping offence by failing to submit to a doping control test

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. Quinlan did not request the ‘B’ sample to be analysed.

Evidence was heard from Mr. Quinlan, Mr. John Ryan (Trainer), Mr. Pat Brennan, (Counsellor) and Dr. Jennifer Pugh (IHRB Senior Medical Officer).

In his evidence, Mr. Quinlan detailed his own personal circumstances. He outlined his employment relationship with Mr. Ryan and the engagement he has had with Mr. Brennan.

In his evidence, Mr. Ryan provided the panel with the background to Mr. Quinlan’s employment and the work he carries out on a daily basis.

In her evidence, Dr. Pugh stated that Mr. Quinlan had first come to her attention following the referral in 2019.  Dr Pugh stated there were mitigating circumstances at that time and Mr Quinlan had fully complied with conditions set out by her in the subsequent months. She outlined to the committee relevant personal background information relating to this case and the level of engagement she has had with Mr. Quinlan over the last three years. Dr Pugh credited Mr. Ryan and Mr Brennan for their support of Mr Quinlan. She gave details of an extensive testing regime which Mr. Quinlan had also engaged in including random and official testing prior to this positive result and since.

In his evidence, Mr. Brennan gave details of his dealings with Mr. Quinlan and also of upcoming plans to further assist Mr. Quinlan.   

Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee accepted the guilty plea and confirmed the breach of Rule 277(i) in respect of the presence of a prohibited substance in the sample provided at Limerick on 16th November 2021. The Committee also imposed a penalty in respect of the previous breach of Rule 277(i) resulting from the Referral Hearing of 29th November 2019. The decision read out by Mr. Justice Tony Hunt on behalf of the panel is set out as follows:

“These hearings always involve difficult cases and this is particularly difficult because of Mr. Quinlan’s own personal circumstances. The Committee has developed an approach in dealing with these cases but at the same time we have to take into account the individual features of each case because there are unique aspects and personal circumstances in every case. It must be recognised, based on Mr. Ryan’s evidence, that there has been a considerable improvement in Mr. Quinlan’s attitude and there is also Dr. Pugh’s and Mr. Brennan’s evidence which are a regular feature of these cases and which we listen to very carefully. We do accept that everybody needs a structure of work and particularly so in Mr. Quinlan’s case from the evidence we have heard today. In overall terms, we impose a one year suspension relating to the Referral from November 2019 and four years for the finding from Limerick last November and we feel that is warranted and in line with previous cases. On the mitigating side and having regard for the individual personal circumstances of this case, we would, after one year and subject to certain conditions, be prepared to review the case and suspend the last four years of this penalty. We also note other actions which Mr. Brennan has suggested that Mr. Quinlan is prepared to take and on the basis of further conditions being met by Mr. Quinlan with Mr. Brennan and Dr. Pugh and in the unusual circumstances of the case we would be prepared to look favourably at reviewing a suspension of the remaining period of this penalty after nine months instead of after one year.”


The case was presented by Ms. Cliodhna Guy, IHRB Head of Licensing, Legal and Compliance and Mr. Quinlan was represented by Patrick Kennedy of Patrick J. O’Meara Solicitors, Liberty Square, Thurles, County Tipperary.

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