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Cormac Farrell (Handler) – Prohibited Substance Referral – Bree (F) Monksgrange 31st March 2019

The Referrals Committee, Mr. Justice Raymond Groarke, (in the chair), Mr. Laurence McFerran and Mr. Sean Barry convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), The Curragh, Co Kildare on Tuesday 1stOctober to consider a report from LGC Laboratories, Fordham, UK, stating that the blood sample taken from Get The Appeal following her win in the Nitrofert 5yo+ Mares Maiden at Bree (F) Monksgrange on 31st March 2019 was found to contain methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA).

Under Rule 20(v) and Regulation R14 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules, MDMA is a substance prohibited at all times.

The trainer requested that the B sample be tested and the finding of MDMA was confirmed by Laboratoire des Courses Hippiques in France.

Evidence was heard from Dr. Lynn Hillyer, IHRB Chief Veterinary Officer and Head of Anti-Doping, Mr. Cormac Farrell (Handler), Mr. Mark Farrell (Assistant Trainer) and Mr. Hugh Dillon (Veterinary Surgeon).

In her evidence, Dr. Hillyer outlined the findings of the IHRB investigation. She confirmed that Mr. Cormac Farrell had co-operated with the IHRB investigation at all times.

In his evidence, Mr. Cormac Farrell outlined his recollection of how Get The Appeal was trained. He also gave details of the ownership of the mare. He stated he was shocked to be informed of the finding as he has no history of being associated with any such substance either socially or professionally.

Evidence was also heard from Mr. Mark Farrell who outlined his involvement with the training of Get The Appeal and his association with the owners of the horse.

In his evidence, Mr. Dillon explained his experience as a Veterinary Surgeon. He also stated his belief at how Get The Appeal could have been inadvertently exposed to MDMA through human contact.

Having considered the evidence, the Committee were satisfied that Mr. Cormac Farrell was in breach of Rule 96(c) as there was an adverse analytical finding for a substance prohibited at all times. They disqualified Get The Appeal, ordered that the stake be forfeited and amended the result to read as follows:

First:  Shoot To Fame

Second: Dont Dismiss Me

Third:  Princess Avery

Fourth: Rainbow Tower


The Committee also imposed a €1,500 fine on Cormac Farrell.

The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Head of Legal, Licensing & Compliance. Mr. Farrell was represented by Frank Quirke BL instructed by Patrick Kennedy of Patrick J. O'Meara & Co. Solicitors, Liberty Square, Thurles, Co Tipperary.

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