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US Navy Seal (USA) / J.R. Finn (Restricted Trainer) Prohibited Substance-Dundalk, 9th November 2016


The Referrals Committee Justice Tony Hunt (in the chair), Philip Caffrey and Laurence McFerran met in the Croke Park Hotel, Jones Road, Dublin 3 on Monday, 6th March 2017 to consider a report from BHP Laboratories in Limerick, stating that the biological fluid sample taken from US Navy Seal (USA) following its run in the Christmas Party Nights at Dundalk Stadium at Dundalk Racecourse on 9th November 2016 was found to contain methylprednisolone and dexamethasone which under Rule 20(v) and Regulation R14 are prohibited substances.

Evidence was heard from J.R. Finn and Dr Lynn Hillyer, Head of Anti-Doping/Chief Veterinary Officer.

At the outset J.R. Finn accepted the findings from the laboratory.

In his evidence J.R. Finn said he acquired the horse in September 2016. He outlined the background to him getting the horse. He said the horse wasn’t running well when he came to his yard and he asked his physiotherapist to look after the horse. After a few sessions the horse started to improve and he attributed this improvement to the physiotherapist’s work.

Mr Finn said the horse ran at Dundalk on 9th November 2016 and was tested following his run. The urine sample was positive for methylprednisolone and dexamethasone. He said he could not understand how the horse was positive as he did not administer any substance to the horse. He subsequently discovered that the horse had been administered Dexafort which contains dexamethasone in September 2016 prior to the horse coming to him. He said he had been unable to determine the source of the methylprednisolone.

Dr Lynn Hillyer outlined that both substances were corticosteroids, with anti-inflammatory and analgesic actions, and used as therapeutic veterinary medications. She noted that methylprednisolone was usually found in long acting preparations. On investigation of the post-race positive sample, it had been confirmed via veterinary records made prior to the gelding coming under Mr. Finn’s care that a commonly used preparation containing dexamethasone, Dexafort®, had been administered on 16th September 2016. No source for the methylprednisolone had been identified despite extensive enquiries.

Having considered the evidence the Referrals Committee found that J.R. Finn was in breach of Rule 20(v) and Regulation R14. In accordance with the provisions of Rule 96(a) they disqualified US Navy Seal (USA) from the race.

The result now reads:
First: Paved With Gold
Second: Cosmic Symbol
Third: Carrigeen Prince
Fourth: Twistsandturns
Fifth: Against The Breeze

In relation to J.R. Finn, they imposed a fine of €1,000. However the fine was waived as they accepted that J.R. Finn had taken all reasonable steps to avoid a breach of the rule and they accepted that both substances were administered unknowingly.

The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Solicitor, Head of Legal and Compliance.

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