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D.M. Grant Referral

D.M. Grant – Banned Substance
Curragh – 11th October 2009

The Referrals Committee, Dr. Gordon A. Holmes (in the Chair), Mr. Edward Flannery and Mr. Neville O’Byrne met in the Turf Club, the Curragh, Co. Kildare on 11th February and 11th March 2010 to consider a report from IMIM Hospitaldelmar in Barcelona, Spain regarding the fact that a sample of urine taken from D.M. Grant, rider, during in-competition testing on 11th October 2009 at The Curragh, Co. Kildare, was found to contain Benzoylecgonine a metabolite 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.

Evidence was heard from D.M. Grant, Mr. Patrick J. Flynn, trainer (employer of D.M. Grant), Dr. Adrian McGoldrick (Senior Turf Club Medical Officer) and Dr. Thomas Barragry, Pharmacologist.

The Committee also considered written submissions from trainers, Mr. John Joseph Murphy and Mr. David Wachman.

In his opening submission Mr. Andrew Coonan, solicitor on behalf of D.M. Grant, said that while he accepted that the procedures were in order and that there was a finding in the “A” and “B” sample for Benzoyleconine, no banned substance had been found in Danny Grant’s body.  He said what had occurred is what is referred to in scientific terms as a “false positive” which has been caused by the rider’s use of a lawful medication called Amoxicillin and that, as such, a doping offence has not occurred.  Mr. Coonan also referred to information that he had downloaded from the internet, which suggested that the use of Amoxicillin has caused positives for cocaine.

D.M. Grant gave evidence that he was originally prescribed Amoxicillin and other medication that he was using for his illness in Mumbai and brought supplies of the various medications back with him to Ireland.  He told the Committee that he had been taking Amoxicillin for four to five days up to the day before he was tested at the Curragh on 11th October 2009.  However, he admitted that he did not declare the use of Amoxicillin to the Sampling Officer when asked to declare the medication that he was taking.  He denied ever having taken Cocaine.

Mr. Patrick J. Flynn gave evidence in relation to Danny Grant’s work ethic and character.   He said Mr. Grant had worked with him for many years and was an excellent employee in every respect.

In his evidence Dr. Adrian McGoldrick told the Committee that he wasn’t aware of any scientifically proven analysis indicating that there is a likelihood or a possibility of a false positive arising from Amoxicillin.  He also told the Committee that there was at least one other jockey who was using Amoxicillin who had been tested but whose test result was negative.

Evidence was also heard from Dr. Thomas Barragry.  He outlined the properties of Cocaine and the effect that it can have on users.  He said that he had never heard of Amoxicillin generating the metabolite Benzoyleconine.  He referred to the unauthenticated material which had been downloaded from the internet for this case which he said was not scientifically admissible anywhere.  He also said that Amoxicillin was scientifically and chemically different from cocaine.  Dr. Barragry concluded by stating that the metabolite Benzoyleconine was generated from cocaine and not from Amoxicillin and that it cannot be produced in the body without the outside influence of cocaine.

In his closing submission, Mr. Andrew Coonan on behalf of D.M. Grant accepted that Amoxicillin in the body doesn’t break down as Benzoyleconine.  He said his case was that the use of Amoxicillin interferes with the testing procedure to such an extent that you get a result of Benzoyleconine.  He also said that the laboratory certificate of a positive finding was not proof that a doping offence had occurred.  He again confirmed that D.M. Grant has never taken Cocaine and that there was also the possibility of the positive result arising from the use of a contaminated medication purchased in India.

Having considered all the evidence, the Committee found that D.M. Grant was guilty of a doping offence under Rule 278(ii)(a) and that under Rule 279(ii)(c) the laboratory certificate from IMIM Hospitaldelmar was sufficient evidence of this.  They also accepted that the offence as charged had been proved to the satisfaction of the Referrals Committee.  However, they did accept that the positive test might have been as a result of the use of contaminated legitimate medication which had been purchased in India and that the breach was accidental.  The Committee also accepted that D.M. Grant had never knowingly or deliberately ingested a banned substance. 

Following submissions on penalty on D.M Grant’s behalf by Mr. Andrew Coonan, the Committee disqualified D.M. Grant for six months with effect from today’s date, five months of which is to be suspended.  They further ordered that D.M. Grant must submit to drug testing at any time during the next six months as required and in the event of him testing positive that the suspended part of his penalty applies immediately.  They also ordered that he pay costs of €1,000.

The case was presented by Mr. Conal Boyce, Wilkinson & Price Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare. 
D.M. Grant was represented by Mr. Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.

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