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Paul W. Flynn (Trainer) Prohibited Substance Referral – Kilbeggan 23rd April 2021

The Referrals Committee, Mr. Justice Raymond Groarke (in the chair), Mr. Nicholas Wachman, and Mr. Peter M. Allen convened in the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone, County Westmeath on Friday, 8th April 2022 to consider whether or not Paul Flynn (Trainer) was in breach of any rules of racing as a result of a report received from LGC Laboratories, Newmarket, England.


The report stated the urine sample taken from Ask Dee following her win in the Mullingar Handicap Hurdle on 23rdApril 2021 at Kilbeggan Racecourse, was confirmed by LGC Laboratories to contain O-desmethylvenlafaxine. Under Rule 20(v) and Regulation R14 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules O-desmethylvenlafaxine is a prohibited substance.


The option of ‘B’ sample analysis was declined with Mr. Flynn accepting the result of the ‘A’ Sample.


Evidence was heard from Mr. Flynn and Dr. Lynn Hillyer, Head of Anti-Doping and Chief Veterinary Officer.


In her evidence, Dr. Hillyer outlined the details of the IHRB investigation. She confirmed that venlafaxine, which metabolises to O-desmethylvenlafaxine, is a human antidepressant. She stated that an unannounced inspection at Mr. Flynn’s premises was instigated following notification to the IHRB of the screening finding for O-desmethylvenlafaxine by LGC. During the inspection Mr. Flynn was informed of the finding and was able to provide a probable source for the substance identified in that it was being used by a person in contact with the filly. Dr. Hillyer confirmed to the panel that in her opinion, exposure of the filly to the human medication on raceday was the most likely cause of the finding. 


In his evidence, Mr. Flynn explained that he had horses running at both Cork and Kilbeggan on the day in question and he had attended Cork while sending a member of staff and additional raceday help to Kilbeggan. He confirmed that on the day of the unannounced inspection by IHRB Officials he was informed of the screening finding and following immediate consultation with the stable pass holders who attended the races with Ask Dee on the evening, he was able to establish that one of them had been in regular contact with the human prescription medication venlafaxine. He added that he had since taken steps to constantly remind those attending to horses at the races of their responsibilities to be mindful of the dangers of cross contamination.


Having considered the evidence, Justice Groarke read out the following decision on behalf of the committee.


“It is the view of the panel that this was a most unfortunate set of circumstances and that the administration of the drug to the horse, in the manner of which has been described being the extremely likely account of how it occurred, is that it was transmitted by a human being who themselves were handling a human antidepressant medication on behalf of another person. The likely explanation for the horse to have been contaminated is that the drug passed from that particular individual who was in charge of the horse on the day it ran to the horse itself. This is an unfortunate set of circumstances whereby the medication was administered unknowingly by either the groom of the horse or particularly Mr. Flynn. In those circumstances, the rules require we must disqualify the horse from the race in question and direct that the stake be forfeited. Thereafter, we are satisfied that Mr. Flynn is entirely blameless and indeed the report of the inspection of his yard on 12th May 2021 was highly complementary of Mr. Flynn and the way in which he conducted his business. In these circumstances we will be waiving the fine of €1,000.”




The result now reads:

First:      Land Jet

Second: Esthers Marvel

Third:    Four Horsemen

Fourth:  The Cool Dude (GB)

Fifth:     Scanimax


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

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