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James Dullea (Trainer) - Referral - Limerick 30th November 2018

The Referrals Committee, Justice Tony Hunt (in the chair), Philip McLernon and Sean Barry convened at the office of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), The Curragh, Co Kildare on Friday, 7th June 2019 to consider whether or not James Dullea, Trainer, was in breach of any rules as a result of a report received from LGC Laboratories, Fordham, UK.

The report stated that the urine sample taken from Just Get Cracking following his win in the Fexco Asset Finance Handicap Hurdle at Limerick on 30th November 2018 was found to contain O- desmethylvenlafaxine. Under Rule 20 (v) and Regulation R14 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules O-desmethylvenlafaxine is a prohibited substance.

The trainer requested that the B sample be tested and the finding of O-desmethylvenlafaxine in the B sample was confirmed by Laboratoire des Courses Hippiques in France.

Evidence was heard from Dr Lynn Hillyer, Chief Veterinary Officer and Head of Anti-Doping and Mr. Dullea. Mr. Michael Grassick, CEO of the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association was also in attendance at Mr. Dullea’s request.

The Committee also noted a report from Veterinary Officer Ms. Nicola O’Connor following a visit to Mr. Dullea’s Training Establishment on 21st December 2018 and a report summarising Dr. Hillyer’s investigation of the adverse analytical finding.

In her evidence, Dr. Hillyer said that substance was a metabolite of a medication licensed for use in humans and there was no therapeutic reason for it to be used in horses. No definitive source for the substance was identified during the visit to the licensed premises.

In his evidence, Mr. Dullea accepted the result of the sample analysis and that he was in breach of Rule 96(a). He advised that he had not been able to identify the source of the medication.

Having considered the evidence, the Committee noted that trainers should be aware of the risk of contamination from human medication and appropriate measures should be implemented including wearing of gloves during feeding. They disqualified the horse from the race and ordered that the stake be forfeited and the placings amended to read as follows:

First: Antimatter

Second: Drakina

Third: Littlestickarubarb

Fourth: Reach Up

Fifth: Oscars Den

They imposed a fine of €1,000 but waived the fine as they felt that the substance had been administered unknowingly and that the Trainer had taken all reasonable precautions to avoid a breach of the rule. However, they stated that that in future trainers will be expected to have implemented appropriate measures such as the use of protective gloves to avoid incidences of contamination and that explanations such as that given today may not be accepted by the Committee as justification for reasonable precautions having been taken.


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

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