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Shane Crawley (Trainer) Prohibited Substance Referral – Dundalk 12th February 2021

The Referrals Committee, Ms. Justice Leonie Reynolds (in the chair), Mr. Finbar Cahill, and Mr. Anthony Byrne convened in the Hilton Hotel, Charlemont, Dublin on Monday, 28th March 2022 to consider whether or not Shane Crawley (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 Tartlette (GB) following her win in the Hollywoodbets Horse Racing Race on 12th February 2021 at Dundalk Racecourse, was confirmed by LGC Laboratories (LGC) to contain clenbuterol. Under Rule 20(v) and Regulation R14 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules clenbuterol is a prohibited substance.


The option of ‘B’ sample analysis was declined.


Evidence was heard from Mr. Crawley, Mr. Liam Sharp, veterinary surgeon and the panel also considered the investigation report of Dr. Lynn Hillyer, Head of Anti-Doping and Chief Veterinary Officer.


The investigation report of Dr. Hillyer outlined the details of the IHRB investigation. Clenbuterol is a beta-2 agonist medication used in equine practice to manage lower respiratory disease by widening the airways and so facilitating airflow. It can be given orally as a syrup or powder, intravenously or via nebulization – all routes according to veterinary direction as it is a prescription only medicine. There are currently two published Detection Times for clenbuterol when used as the medication Ventipulmin according to the route of administration. If Ventipulmin Syrup is administered orally at the recommended dose a detection time of 312 hours is recommended and if Ventipulmin Injection is administered through a nebuliser, the recommended detection time is 144 hours.


When notified of the adverse analytical finding, Mr. Crawley stated that the horse had been treated with Ventipulmin, a product containing clenbuterol, which was prescribed by Mr. Liam Sharp as Ventipulmin Granules prescribed for 28 days at a dose of 2.5 scoops twice daily on 12th January 2021. The Medicines Register was provided in which it was documented that Ventipulmin Granules were administered from 12th January 2021 for 12 days with a 19 days withdrawal time advised.


Dr. Hillyer added Tartlette’s history suggested long-standing respiratory disease being actively managed and that Mr. Crawley provided reports from Sycamore Lodge Equine Hospital and the Irish Equine Centre supporting a diagnosis of chronic lower airway disease. She stated that a drug administered orally, over a prolonged period of time, to a horse with a chronic condition such as lower airway disease is likely to need to attract a longer withdrawal time because of the increased variability inherent in how it will be handled by that horse as well as the risks of environmental exposure being prolonged.


In his evidence, Mr. Crawley stated that the filly had a history of breathing problems and that he worked together with Mr. Sharp to get the right medication that suited the filly and he administered that as advised. He outlined that the filly had a potential engagement a week prior to her Dundalk win but that race was too close to the advised withdrawal time and he felt the race on 12th February was allowing enough time for the filly to run having taken the Ventipulmin. Mr. Crawley accepted the breach and added that he had not opted to take an elective test prior to running the filly but that he was aware of the facility.



In his evidence, Mr. Sharp said that Tartlette had been frustrating to get right as her condition was going on quite a long time and that Ventipulmin was a last resort because of the lengthy withdrawal time but it was effective with this filly. Mr. Sharp suggested that in hindsight he feels that a longer withdrawal time will now have to be advised due to possible damaged tissue owing to her history of breathing problems which maybe withholding the substance longer than expected.


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


“We have considered the evidence and Mr. Crawley accepts that he was in breach of Rule 96(a) arising from the presence of clenbuterol present in the sample taken from Tartlette after her win at Dundalk on the 12th February 2021. In respect of the positive sample, Dr. Hillyer has opined that there were two reasons why the concentration was higher than the international screening limit, either that the withdrawal time advised and observed was not long enough or indeed that the amount given during the 12 day treatment period was greater than the standard dose and concluded that it was not possible to determine more than this from the evidence available. However, today we have heard from Mr. Sharp and he has advised that, taking into account the particular traits of this filly and in particular the damage to her lungs, that this is the likely cause of the presence of the substance and the resulting positive result. In hindsight, he has opined that in the particular circumstances that the medication took longer to leave her system. We accept Mr. Sharp’s version in that he clearly has knowledge of this animal. It is unfortunate perhaps, that Mr. Cawley didn’t avail of elective sampling although we have heard perhaps a number of reasons why that is the case, clearly having initially considered running the filly earlier but declining to do so in circumstances where he felt it didn’t fully comply with the necessary time periods.


So in determining the sanction in regard of the particular circumstances, firstly it is essential that the horse be disqualified from the race in question and the stake must be forfeited and thereafter there is the issue of a fine of €1,000 which must be imposed but it seems to us there is a discretion for the Referrals Committee to waive that fine. It is clear to us that it is Mr. Crawley’s first time before a Referrals Committee for such a matter, secondly taking into account the explanation given by Mr. Sharp, we are satisfied that in all the circumstances it would be appropriate to waive the fine.”


The result now reads:

First:      Bold Approach

Second: Grandmaster Flash

Third:    Raphael (GER)



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

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