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J.P. Cahill (Trainer) Prohibited Substance Referral – Listowel 25th September 2021

The Referrals Committee, Mr. Justice Tony Hunt (in the chair), Mr. Nicholas Wachman, and Mr. Anthony Byrne convened in the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on Monday, 13th June 2022 to consider whether or not Mr. J.P. Cahill (Trainer) was in breach of any rules of racing as a result of a report received from LGC Laboratories, Newmarket, England.


The report received on 6th October 2021 stated the blood sample taken from Boreen Boy following his win in the Brendan Daly Memorial (Pro-Am) INH Flat Race, was confirmed by LGC Laboratories to contain triamcinolone acetonide (TCA). Under Rule 20(v) and Regulation R14 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules triamcinolone acetonide is a prohibited substance.


The option of ‘B’ sample analysis was declined by Mr. Cahill, who in doing so accepted the results of the analysis of the ‘A’ sample.


Evidence was heard from Mr. Cahill and the investigation report of Dr. Lynn Hillyer, Head of Anti-Doping and Chief Veterinary Officer was considered by the panel.


In her report, Dr. Hillyer outlined the details of the IHRB investigation. Dr. Hillyer stated that triamcinolone acetonide is a corticosteroid anti-inflammatory medication commonly used in equine practice. It has effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and so is often used to treat joint inflammation, sometimes in combination with other medications. She added that it is usually administered intra-articularly (into a joint) and there is no published Detection Time for TCA but a minimum stand down time of 14 days must be given after an intra-articular administration of the drug under Rule 87, to which further time must be added by the Veterinary Surgeon administering the medication to advise of a Withdrawal Time. Dr. Hillyer confirmed that the Medicines Register relating to Boreen Boy confirmed an entry for the administration of Triam Lichtenstein®, a product containing TCA, to ‘joint’ alongside Amikacin®, an antibiotic, on 8thSeptember 2021. Dr. Hillyer stated that it was not clear what dose of TCA was administered – the product is produced in 40 mg/ml and 10 mg/ml variants but that an entry of ‘2 vials’ was recorded, but with an arrow to the Amikacin®. Dr. Hillyer said that Mr. Cahill confirmed that a single joint, the stifle, was treated and that a 22-day withdrawal time was advised but not adhered to and only 16 days was left between treatment and the race. Dr. Hillyer confirmed that 16 days was an inadequate withdrawal time, even without clarity on the dose administered. The stifle is a complex joint and excretion from it not straightforward even if there is no chronic injury or disease within it. She added that the professional advice of the veterinary surgeon administering the medication was not followed.


Dr. Hillyer outlined that the IHRB have gone to some lengths to advise veterinary surgeons and trainers of these increased risk factors associated with intra-articular administration of corticosteroids and that, as a consequence, longer withdrawal times must be observed when any of them are involved. 


In his evidence, Mr. Cahill accepted full responsibility for the positive finding and the breach of Rule 96. Mr. Cahill stated that Boreen Boy had got cast in his box and he had received treatment for his stifle. He said after just a couple of days that the horse was 100 per cent sound but accepted that he had been told 22 days by his vet but due to a number of personal reasons at the time that the veterinary advice did not register with him properly and he apologised for the situation which had arisen.


Having considered the evidence, Chairman of the Referrals Committee Justice Hunt read out the following decision on behalf of the committee.


“On the uncontested evidence, the Committee found Mr. Cahill in breach of Rule 96A. In relation to sanction, the Committee disqualified the horse from the race in question, ordered that the stake be forfeited and that the result be amended accordingly. The Committee then considered the imposition of a fine and whether any fine should be waived. The Committee considered that the circumstances of this case did not warrant waiver of a financial sanction. However, in mitigation, the Committee considered that Mr. Cahill had given evidence and approached the matter in an honest and genuine manner. He presented with a clean record in this regard. The Committee accepted his evidence that pressures and distraction arising from adverse personal circumstances at the time resulted in his failure to follow the veterinary advice that he had previously received in relation to this animal.


Absent mitigating circumstances, the Committee felt that the facts called for imposition of a fine in excess of the specified minimum of €1,000 and considered that a fine of €3,000 would otherwise have been appropriate. However, having regard to the loss of the race and the other mitigating factors outlined above, the Committee imposed a fine of €1,000.”


The Amended result of the Brendan Daly Memorial (Pro-Am) INH Flat Race now reads:


First:      Misty’s Gift

Second: Hey Johnny

Third:    Coole Og

Fourth:  Suain Na Draoicht

Fifth:     Keeffelee


The case was presented by Ms. Cliodhna Guy, IHRB Head of Licensing, Legal & Compliance.

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