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Dylan Robinson (Rider) – Banned Substance Galway, 9th October 2018


The Referrals Committee, Justice Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Justice Leonie Reynolds and Philip McLernon met at the Offices of the IHRB, Curragh, Co. Kildare on Thursday, 10th January 2019 to consider a report from Laboratori Antidopatge De Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, that samples of urine taken from Dylan Robinson, Rider, during in-competition testing at Galway Racecourse, Co. Galway on 9th October 2018 were found to contain cocaine metabolites, (benzoylecgonine and ecgonine methyl ester).

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 Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board. Mr. Robinson asked for the “B” sample to be analysed and the result of the analysis carried out on 13th December 2018 confirmed the “A” sample findings.

Having considered evidence from Dr Adrian McGoldrick, IHRB Medical Officer and Mr Robinson and a submission from Andrew Coonan, on behalf of Mr. Robinson, the hearing was adjourned.

The Referrals Committee, Justice Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Justice Leonie Reynolds and Philip Caffrey reconvened at the Croke Park Hotel, Jones Road, Dublin on Tuesday, 26th February 2019 to consider the matter.

Evidence was heard from Dr Jennifer Pugh, Senior IHRB Medical Officer and Dylan Robinson. The Committee also noted a reference from Henry de Bromhead, Trainer, (Mr Robinson’s employer) and other information that had been provided.

In her evidence Dr Pugh outlined the effects of taking cocaine and detailed her interactions with Mr Robinson since the adjourned hearing which she described as very positive and said that he was a pleasure to deal with.

In his evidence Mr Robinson said while he accepted that he was in breach of the rule, he could not explain why as he could not remember events from the night in question and did not remember taking any substance. He expressed great remorse for what had happened and said he would cooperate fully with whatever requirements the Referrals Committee laid down so as he could get back to riding.

Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee accepted the guilty plea and confirmed the breach of Rule 277(i).

In arriving at penalty, the Referrals Committee accepted that based on Mr Robinson’s evidence and other reports submitted what had occurred was a once off. They also noted the overall improvement in Mr Robinson’s demeanour and willingness to learn from his error since the previous hearing. However, the seriousness of what occurred and the fact that Mr Robinson could have compromised the safety of other riders by riding with cocaine in his system needed to be factored into any penalty.

They imposed a penalty of a three-year suspension of Mr. Robinson’s licence to apply with effect from 1st January 2019 (as he had not ridden since 31st December 2018). In view of the exceptional circumstances and the mitigating factors, they agreed that they would review the matter again in late 2019, should Mr. Robinson reapply to the Committee, whereupon they would consider the issue of a partial suspension of the penalty to apply with effect from 1st January 2020 , depending on evidence of Mr. Robinson’s positive engagement with medical and associated matters at that time.

The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Solicitor, Head of Licensing, Legal and Compliance.  Dylan Robinson was represented by Andrew Coonan, Solicitor, Coonan Cawley, Naas, Co. Kildare.

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