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Denis Hogan (Trainer) Referral – Cork 10thMay, The Curragh 24thMay & Out-of-Competition test on 30th May 2019

Denis Hogan (Trainer) Referral – Cork 10th May, The Curragh 24th May &

Out-of-Competition test on 30th May 2019


The Referrals Committee, Justice Tony Hunt (in the chair), Mr. Philip Caffrey and Mr. Philip McLernon convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), The Curragh, Co Kildare on Tuesday, 27th August 2019 to consider whether or not Denis Hogan (Trainer) was in breach of any rules as a result of analytical reports received from LGC Laboratories, Fordham, UK relating to a horse returned in training with him, Turbine .

The first of these reports stated that the blood sample taken from Turbine following his win in the Matchbook Straight Seven Handicap at Cork on 10th May 2019 contained an adverse analytical finding for nandrolone. Under Rule 20 (v) and Regulation R14 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules, nandrolone is a substance prohibited at all times.

A second post-race blood sample was taken from Turbine following his run in the TRM Excellence In Equine Nutrition Handicap at The Curragh on 24th May. This was also reported as positive for nandrolone.

A third blood sample, and in addition hair samples, were taken from Turbine on 30th May 2019  and five other horses returned in training with Mr. Hogan during a without notice inspection as part of the investigation into the above results. The blood and hair samples taken that day from Turbine were subsequently reported positive for nandrolone. The samples taken from the other horses that day were reported negative.

Evidence was heard from Dr. Lynn Hillyer (Chief Veterinary Officer and Head of Anti-Doping), Mr. Hogan and Donncha Houlihan, Mr. Hogan’s Veterinary Surgeon.

In her evidence, Dr. Hillyer summarised the investigation into the adverse analytical findings. She confirmed that nandrolone is an androgenic anabolic steroid prohibited at all times under Regulation 14 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules. She explained that during the without notice inspection at Mr. Hogan’s premises on 30th May no explanation was offered for the findings.

Dr. Hillyer stated that she was contacted the day following the inspection by Mr. Houlihan, who offered a possible reason for the presence of nandrolone. Mr. Houlihan explained that the gelding had been in his practice for ‘wind’ surgery on 24th January 2019 and may have been administered Laurabolin® (product containing nandrolone) by mistake.  He was fully aware of the seriousness of the matter for Mr. Hogan.

Following discussion, and further work conducted in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, practice records and the results of the hair sample analysis taken from Turbine on 30th May 2019 were assessed.  The practice records documented that Turbine was hospitalised at the same time as a horse being treated with nandrolone. The hair results evidenced that Turbine had been exposed to nandrolone in a time window consistent with his hospitalisation in January 2019.

In his evidence, Mr. Houlihan outlined how another horse at his practice was being treated with Laurabolin® for three days at the same time as Turbine was there for his surgery. This horse was stabled next to Turbine - it was his belief that Turbine had been administered the Laurabolin® in error.

Mr. Hogan stated that this finding was of great concern to him and had come as a surprise given his clean record in this regard.

Having considered the evidence, the Committee were satisfied that there had been a breach of Rule 96(c) but were of the view that it was not due to the actions of Mr. Hogan or the owner of Turbine As such this was not a case that should be associated with any other cases of this kind as an error had occurred while Mr. Hogan and the owner had entrusted the veterinary surgeon with the care of their horse.

As a result of the breach, they disqualified Turbine from the Matchbook Straight Seven Handicap at Cork on 10th May 2019 and the TRM Excellence In Equine Nutrition Handicap at Curragh on 24th May 2019 and ordered that the stake from his win at Cork to be forfeited.

The amended result of the race at Cork is as follows:

Matchbook Straight Seven Handicap at Cork on 10th May 2019

First:    Time Stands Still (GB)              

Second: Silverkode                  

Third:   Gordon Lord Byron                 

Fourth: St Brelades Bay           

Fifth:    Waitingfortheday

In considering the penalty the Committee noted that Mr. Hogan had provided full cooperation to the investigation and that all responsibility was accepted by Mr. Houlihan. As a result of the prohibited at all times substance that Turbine had been administered, the Committee restricted Turbine from returning to training until 31st January 2020 and from running until 31st March 2020. They also ordered that Mr. Hogan pay a contribution of €1,000 towards the costs of the investigation.

The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Head of Legal, Licensing & Compliance. Mr. Hogan was represented by Joseph Fitzpatrick of W.A. Smithwick Solicitors and Sons, Parliament Street, County Kilkenny.

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