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Edward O’Grady (Trainer) “Nun’s Cross” Referral Prohibited Substance Clonmel, 2nd March 2017


The Referrals Committee, Sean Barry (in the Chair), Mrs. J.O. Onions and Peter N. Reynolds met at the Stewards Room, Punchestown Racecourse, Co. Kildare on Wednesday, 26th April 2017, to consider a report from BHP Laboratories in Limerick stating that the biological fluid sample taken from Nun’s Cross following its win at Clonmel in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund I.N.H. Flat Race on 2nd March 2017, was found to contain caffeine which, under Rule 20(v) and Regulation R14, is a prohibited substance. The trainer requested that the “B” sample be tested and the sample, which was tested by Laboratoire des Courses Hippiques (LCH) in Paris on 17th April 2017, confirmed the finding of caffeine.

Evidence was heard from Dr. Lynn Hillyer, Chief Veterinary Officer/Head of Anti-Doping and Edward O’Grady and Hugh Hurley (employee of Mr. O’Grady).

In her evidence, Dr. Hillyer gave details of a visit to Mr. O’Grady’s training establishment subsequent to the positive result. She said she was unable to determine the source of the caffeine despite investigating possible sources. She noted that Mr O’Grady had his feed tested and the results were negative.

In his evidence, Edward O’Grady said he had no idea why the sample was positive and he attributed the finding to “rogue” contamination. He said he has trained horses for 45 years and never had a suggestion of a positive sample during that period. He referred to Dr. Hillyer’s visit and a subsequent testing of all his horses by the Turf Club to establish whether or not there were issues with other horses. He said the results of all the tests were negative.

Mr O’Grady referred to what happened on the day of the races at Clonmel. He said the horse travelled to the races with two of his staff including Hugh Hurley (who is present today). He said the horse was stabled in a box where there were shavings on the floor. While the box looked clean, the shavings were discolored in places and it is possible that there may have been cross contamination from the shavings. He also said the horse was only left unattended for a short period during the afternoon.

Mr O’Grady said his stables were examined by Alan Creighton from the Irish Equine Centre and he was unable to determine the source of the caffeine either.

In conclusion Mr O’Grady said he accepted the positive sample result.

In his evidence Hugh Hurley confirmed that the shavings in the box used by Nun’s Cross were a musty colour.

Having considered the evidence the Committee found that it was satisfied there was a breach of Rule 96(a) and ordered that Nun’s Cross be disqualified from the race in question, that the stake be forfeited, and that the Judge’s placings be amended accordingly. The result now reads:

First: Nicat’s Benefit
Second: Allez Kal
Third: Firions Angel
Fourth: Alighting
Fifth: Wheres My Dodi

The Committee imposed a fine of €1,000 on Edward O’Grady but waived the fine as they were satisfied the prohibited substance was administered unknowingly and that the trainer had taken all reasonable precautions to avoid a breach of the rule.

The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, solicitor.

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