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Mr. Luke McGuinness (Rider) – Banned Substance Limerick 27th December 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. Luke McGuinness (Rider) during in-competition testing at Limerick on 27th December 2021 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. McGuinness did not request the ‘B’ sample to be analysed.

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

In his evidence, Mr. McGuinness outlined his background and provided details of his own personal circumstances.

In his evidence, Mr. Brennan provided details of his work with Mr. McGuinness.

In her evidence, Dr. Pugh stated that Mr. McGuinness has continued to engage with her and with Mr. Brennan and gave details of continuing support from the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund being accepted by Mr. Guinness.

Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee accepted the guilty plea and confirmed the breach of Rule 277(i). The decision read out by Mr. Justice Tony Hunt on behalf of the panel is set out as follows:

“We have to deal with the case on the basis of the evidence we find. This is unfortunately a third offence and in relation to the balance of four years which is outstanding, we feel we have no option but to activate the outstanding period beginning from 21st January 2022 which is when Mr. McGuinness was notified of this finding. Having activated the previous sanction, we now have to address the new breach and are imposing a consecutive penalty so on the expiry of this current four years there will be a further suspension of four years. However, because of the timeframe involved and with the hope that Mr. McGuinness may have addressed matters fully by the end of the initial four years, he will be entitled to make an application to the Referrals Committee, once he has completed this current four year suspension, to either in whole or in part have that new penalty suspended based on whatever plan and proposal is drawn up with the assistance of Dr. Pugh, Mr. Brennan or their respective successors at that particular time.”

The case was presented by Ms. Cliodhna Guy, IHRB Head of Licensing, Legal and Compliance

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