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A.M. King (Rider) Failure to submit a dope test Referral – Naas 16th December 2019

The Referrals Committee, Mr. Sean Barry (in the chair) Ms. Mary M. O’Connor and Mr. N.B. Wachman convened at Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on 10th December 2020 to consider a referral from the Stewards following the fixture at Naas on 16th December 2019.


On the day, A.M. King (Rider) was selected at random to submit a dope test under the provisions of Rule 278, however failed to report to the doping control station prior to the last race on the card and the matter was referred for further investigation by the IHRB Anti-Doping Officer. 


Evidence was heard from Mr. Alan King (Rider) and Mr. Nicholas Tarrant (Sampling Officer) and a report from Dr. Jennifer Pugh (IHRB Senior Medical Officer) was also considered.


In his evidence, Mr. King explained that on arriving to the races he had been informed that was selected at random to submit to a dope test. He stated that he received the doping control form and signed it and gave it to Mr. Tarrant at the doping control station. At this point, he informed Mr. Tarrant that he would return to give a sample after he had ridden in Race Two. Mr. King said that following his only ride on the card in Race Two that he had returned to the weighroom, packed up his equipment and made his way home as he was rushing to return home to ride out more horses that afternoon and had forgotten to return to the doping control station. Mr. King said that it wasn’t until he had got to his car in Athlone that he realised he had messages from his valet, Mr. Liam Cleary, and another rider reminding him about the dope test and that Mr. Tarrant had been looking for him. At this point he spoke with Mr. Cleary and Mr. Tarrant and having realised the seriousness of the events, he made his way back to Naas Racecourse. However, by the time he returned to the track the weighroom and doping control station were empty and only racecourse manager Eamonn McEvoy was in the vicinity. He stated that Mr. McEvoy contacted Ms. Cliodhna Guy (IHRB Head of Legal, Licensing & Compliance) to inform her that he had returned to the racecourse in an attempt to fulfil the test. Mr. King also stated that he also made contact with Dr. Pugh on his return to the racecourse and informed her of the situation. Furthermore, Mr. King provided details of a drug test he underwent in Maynooth that evening with Dr. Denis Gaffney and provided confirmation of negative screening for substances to the IHRB. He concluded by expressing his regret at having found himself in this unusual situation and also furnished the panel with references from Barry Murphy (Trainer) and An Garda Síochána.


In his evidence, Mr. Tarrant outlined his role as sampling officer and the normal procedures on a race day. He explained that Mr. Francis O’Brien (IHRB chaperone) had informed Mr. King he had been selected for a dope test at 12.10pm and Mr. King presented himself to the doping control station at 12.20pm. Mr. Tarrant confirmed that Mr. King said he would return following his only ride on the card, which was in Race Two, and that this would be normal practice among many riders. However, when Mr. King had still failed to return to the doping control centre prior to the last race, Mr. Tarrant explained that he had gone to the weighroom area in an attempt to locate him and on speaking to his valet, Mr. Cleary, and other riders, it had become clear that Mr. King had left the racecourse. Mr. Tarrant added that he had spoken to Mr. King on Mr. Cleary’s phone and further explained the importance of him returning to do the sample but got no indication from Mr. King if he was going to return or not and at this point he had informed the Stewards. Mr. Tarrant said that he completed the paperwork of his final sample on the day at 4.52pm and left the racecourse at 5.05pm before being later informed that Mr. King had returned to the racecourse at 5.26pm.


Ms. Guy confirmed that Mr. McEvoy did contact her to say that Mr. King had returned but the sampling officers and all other parties had left the racecourse. 


Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee were satisfied that there had been a breach of Rule 278(ii)(d) in that Mr. King had failed to submit to a Dope Test having been requested to do so. They acknowledged that this was an exceptional case in that there was no precedent and noted Mr. King’s remorse at what had happened and the measures he had taken to address the situation on the day by both returning to the racecourse and also undertaking a drug test in Maynooth that evening. However, in light of the seriousness of failing to submit to a Dope Test they fined him €500 and suspended him for a period of eight weeks to begin from 4th January 2021.


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


Dates Of Suspension: 4th January – 28th February 2021

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