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Luke McGuinness (Rider) Banned Substance Referral - Navan, 26th November 2017


The Referrals Committee, Sean Barry, (in the Chair), Justice Leonie Reynolds and M.C. Hickey met at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Thursday, 29th March 2018 to consider a report from IMIM Hospitaldelmar in Barcelona, Spain, that a sample of urine taken from Luke McGuinness, Rider, during in-competition testing at Navan Racecourse, Co Meath on 26th November 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 Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB).

The ‘B’ portion of the sample was also analysed at the request of Mr. McGuinness and confirmed the finding of the ‘A’ sample.

Evidence was heard from Dr. Adrian McGoldrick, Senior Medical Officer, Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board and Luke McGuinness.

At the outset, Eugene Gleeson S.C. stated that Luke McGuinness was not contesting the findings and accepted that he was in breach of Rule 277(i).

In his evidence Dr. McGoldrick said that cocaine is a strong stimulant which is used as a recreational drug. He outlined the effects of cocaine use and noted that it takes between two and four days to clear the system. He also outlined his interaction with Luke McGuinness since the Adverse Analytical Finding and was of the belief that Luke McGuinness was making a genuine effort at recovery and was fully engaged in that process.

In his evidence Luke McGuinness outlined his riding career to date. He admitted taking the prohibited substance and deeply regretted the shame that this had brought on him, his family and the sport. He said that he was now fully focused on his recovery and outlined the steps he had taken in recent months in engaging with the appropriate medical services. He also thanked Dr. McGoldrick for his ongoing support since he was made aware of the Adverse Analytical Finding.

In arriving at penalty, the Referrals Committee took into account a number of mitigating factors which were specific to this case and noted that Luke McGuinness had not ridden since the result of the Adverse Analytical Finding was made known to him. They imposed a penalty of a two-year suspension of Luke McGuinness’s licence commencing from the date of today’s hearing (29th March 2018). It was agreed that they would review the matter again in six months provided that Luke McGuinness positively engages in a programme. They agreed that they would consider an application for the reinstatement of his licence at that time if he had fully co-operated with the programme. However, they said it should be noted that there was no guarantee his licence would be restored. In relation to the programme, they ordered that Luke McGuinness co-operate with any requests from Dr. McGoldrick during his period of suspension. They also ordered that Luke McGuinness pay costs of €400.

The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Head of Licensing, Legal & Compliance.

Luke McGuinness was represented by Eugene Gleeson S.C.

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