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David Dunne (Trainer) Appeal – Ballinrobe 12th August 2019


The Appeals Body (Division 2) Ms. Justice Leonie Reynolds (in the chair), Mr. Joseph M. McGrath and Mr. John Murphy convened at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown Town Centre, Dublin 15 on Thursday, 30th January 2020, to consider the appeal of David Dunne (Trainer) against the penalty imposed on him by the Referrals Committee on Friday, 29th November 2019.


The Referrals Committee had convened to consider whether any rules had been breached when the presence of Boldenone was detected in the sample taken from Druim Samhraidh, trained by Mr. Dunne, following his win at Ballinrobe on 12th August 2019 and what, if any, sanctions were appropriate. Having considered the evidence presented, they ordered that Druim Samhraidh be disqualified from the race in question, be suspended from running for 14 months, the trainer be fined €2,000 and also pay €1,000 towards the costs incurred by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB).


The Appeals Body noted the submissions from Mr. Patrick Kennedy, Solicitor, acting on behalf of Mr. Dunne. They also considered the investigation report, the transcript of the Referral Hearing and an expert witness statement from Mr. Bobby Gray, Chief Scientist, Animal Sports Testing, LGC Laboratories on behalf of the IHRB.


In his submissions, Mr. Kennedy accepted the seriousness of the case on behalf of Mr. Dunne and stated that the Appeal was based on the financial situation of his client. In light of the costs incurred by Mr. Dunne following the decision of the Referrals Committee and the reputational damage that such an outcome has had on his client, Mr. Kennedy appealed for some leniency of the fine imposed.


Having considered all aspects of the case including the clarification provided by Mr. Gray’s statement and the further pleas in mitigation made by Mr. Kennedy, the Appeals Body were satisfied that the sanctions imposed by the Referrals Committee were unduly lenient owing to the seriousness of Druim Samhraidh being exposed to Boldenone, which is an anabolic steroid and a prohibited at all times substance, between 8 and 48 hours or 12 and 16 days prior to the race in question, when in the care of David Dunne.


The Appeals Body varied the sanction by reducing the fine from €2,000 to €1,000 and added a suspension of Mr. Dunne’s licence for a four month period to commence from 1st March 2020, while the suspension of the horse for 14 months, disqualification of the horse from the specific race and the forfeiture of the prize money remain. No costs were awarded.


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


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