Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

David Dunne (Trainer) – Prohibited Substance Referral – Ballinrobe 12th August 2019

The Referrals Committee, Mr. Justice Tony Hunt, (in the chair), Mr. Philip Caffrey and Mr. Anthony Byrne convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), The Curragh, Co Kildare on 29th November 2019 to consider whether or not David Dunne, Trainer, was in breach of any rules as a result of a report received from LGC Laboratories, Fordham, UK.

The report stated that the urine sample taken from Druim Samhraidh following his win in Cummins Homevalue Hardware INH Flat Race at Ballinrobe on 12th August 2019, was found to contain boldenone sulphate. Under Rule 20 (v) and Regulation R14 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules boldenone sulphate is a substance prohibited at all times.
The trainer declined the option to have the B sample analysed.

Evidence was heard from Dr. Lynn Hillyer, IHRB Chief Veterinary Officer and Head of Anti-Doping, Professor Stuart Paine, Associate Professor of Veterinary Pharmacology University of Nottingham and Mr. Dunne.

In her evidence, Dr Hillyer summarised the investigation into the adverse analytical finding. She confirmed that Boldenone is an androgenic anabolic steroid which metabolises to boldenone sulphate.  There is no product containing boldenone licensed for use in horses in Ireland.  It is a substance prohibited at all times under Regulation 14 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules.

Dr. Hillyer also gave details of a Without Notice Inspection, in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, at Mr. Dunne’s Training Establishment on 30th August 2019. Druim Samhraidh was present along with eight other horses. Blood and hair samples were taken from all horses present on the day. Boldenone sulphate was found in the blood, urine and hair samples taken from Druim Samhraidh. Samples taken from the other eight horses were negative.

In his evidence, Professor Paine stated that the scientific analysis of the samples taken from Druim Samhraidh following his win on 12th August and during the Without Notice Inspection on 30th August 2019 was consistent with Druim Samhraidh being exposed to boldenone within 16 days of the race at Ballinrobe. He noted that the analysis of the hair indicated a longer time window of exposure of up to six months.

In his evidence, Mr. Dunne provided details of his Training Establishment and explained how his business has expanded over the four years he has held a trainer’s licence. He described how he came to train Druim Samhraidh in May 2019 having met with Mr. Martin McNally one day on the gallops who pre-trained the horse.

Mr. Dunne outlined how a horse in his care had never tested positive for a prohibited substance. He could offer no explanation as to how Druim Samhraidh was exposed to boldenone other than to suggest that he may have first been exposed to the substance prior to him getting the horse to train, as was also suggested in the report from Professor Paine.

Having considered the evidence, the Committee were satisfied that Mr. Dunne was in breach of Rule 96(c) as a prohibited substance was present in the sample taken from the horse. In delivering their conclusion, the Committee expressed the view that the hair sample taken from Druim Samhraidh had suggested the probability that the horse was administered boldenone prior to coming into the care of Mr. Dunne. They disqualified Druim Samhraidh, ordered that the stake be forfeited and amended the result to read as follows:

First:         Shanwalla
Second:    Pancreek (Fr)
Third:        Arrycan
Fourth:     Singirishmansing
Fifth:         Tuatha De Dannan

The Committee also imposed a €2,000 fine on Mr. Dunne and they suspended Druim Samhraidh from running for 14 months from the date of his final run, 12thAugust 2019, adding that the horse could only run after this date having returned a negative sample. They also ordered that Mr. Dunne pay a contribution of €1,000 towards the costs of the IHRB.

The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Head of Legal, Licensing and Compliance.  Mr. Dunne was represented by Patrick Kennedy Solicitor, Patrick J. O'Meara & Co. Solicitors, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.


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