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Danny Grant (Rider) – Banned Substance Cork 2nd August & Killarney 17th August 2016


The Referrals Committee, Justice Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Philip McLernon and N.P. Lambert met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Monday 7th November 2016 to consider reports from IMIM Hospitaldelmar in Barcelona, Spain that samples of urine taken from Danny Grant, Rider, during in-competition testing at Cork Racecourse, Mallow, Co. Cork on 2nd August 2016 and Killarney Racecourse, Co. Kerry on 17th August 2016 were found to contain Benzoylecgonine and ecgonine methyl esther (metabolites of cocaine).

Under the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules, cocaine is a banned substance because it acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system with addictive and hallucinogenic properties and is prohibited in-competition pursuant to the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List International Standard as adopted by the Turf Club.

In both cases Danny Grant did not request the ‘B’ Sample to be tested and under the provisions of Rule 278(vi)(c) he was deemed to have accepted the results of the ‘A’ Sample.

Evidence was heard from Dr Adrian McGoldrick, Senior Turf Club Medical Officer and Danny Grant. The Committee also considered a letter of support for Mr Grant from Pat Flynn, trainer.

At the outset Andrew Coonan, solicitor on behalf of Danny Grant, accepted that his client was in breach of Rule 277(i) and submitted that the source of the positive finding was a herbal tea product called “Mate De Coca” tea which Mr Grant had purchased online and which he had used previously.

In his evidence Dr Adrian McGoldrick outlined the effects of cocaine and what results from prolonged use. He referred to a previous hearing involving Mr Grant in November 2014 where it was found that the source of the positive finding on that occasion was a herbal tea. Dr McGoldrick said the herbal tea was tested at the time and the test had indicated the presence of cocaine. He noted that this was the reason being advanced again for the positive finding in this case.

Dr McGoldrick gave details of a conversation he had with Mr Grant in the last week and outlined the difficulties he was having with a serious skin condition. He also gave details of the treatments that Mr Grant had tried but were unsuccessful. He said there was one drug which could potentially work with Mr Grant but that it had serious side effects with the result that Mr Grant decided not to use it.

Dr McGoldrick said that Danny Grant had numerous negative tests since 2014 and that Mr Grant told him he knew he would be positive once he went back on the herbal tea in late July, but it was the only thing which helped his skin condition. In conclusion, Dr McGoldrick said even though Mr Grant had tested positive for cocaine metabolites, the use of the tea is not equivalent to taking cocaine.

In his evidence Danny Grant outlined the difficulties he faced with his skin condition and the efforts he made in the past two years to try and get some relief from various treatments. He knew he would test positive if he was tested once he recommenced drinking the tea but he had no alternative. He said he was feeling better now and getting some relief.

Having considered the evidence the Referrals Committee noted that Danny Grant had accepted he was in breach of Rule 277(i) in respect of the positive tests at Cork and Killarney. The Committee acknowledged this was a very difficult case because of the reasons for what occurred. In arriving at penalty, the Committee deemed that any suspension commence from 2nd September 2016 as this was the date he was originally stood down by the Referrals Committee. They ordered that as he had now tested positive during the period of the suspended penalty from 2014, the 18 months suspended penalty from that period commence with effect from 2nd September 2016.

In addition they imposed a further penalty of three years to run concurrently from 2nd September 2016 for the two rule breaches dealt with at the hearing. However, they agreed that Danny Grant can make application to the Referrals Committee at any time after 2nd March 2018, to ask the Referrals Committee to review the penalty remaining. The Committee accepted the source of the cocaine metabolite was the “Mata De Coca” tea which Danny Grant had recommenced taking to aid his skin condition.

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Solicitor, Naas, Co. Kildare. Danny Grant was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley, Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.

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