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Martin Brassil (Trainer) - Referral - Listowel 13th September 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 Martin Brassil, 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 Vent De La Cote (FR) following his win in the Devon Inn Hotel Handicap Hurdle at Listowel on 13th September 2018 contained testosterone at a concentration of 31.3ng/ml which is above the international threshold of 20 ng/ml for testosterone in a gelding. Under Rule 20 (v) and Regulation R14 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules testosterone at a concentration over the threshold as set out in the Schedule of Prohibited Substances in Regulation R14 is a prohibited substance.

The Trainer requested that the B sample be tested and the finding of testosterone above the international threshold 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. Brassil.

The Committee also noted a report from Dr. Lynn Hillyer following a visit to Mr. Brassil’s Training Establishment on 4th October 2018 and her report summarising the investigation into the matter.

In her evidence, Dr. Hillyer said that LGC Laboratories had advised that the steroid profile of the Sample was not consistent with the administration oftestosterone or a related substance. The Sample was deemed to be, in the opinion of the laboratory, taken from an ‘atypical testosterone’ case. ‘Atypical testosterone’ cases have been described in Thoroughbred geldings where it appears due to stress, transport and other factors specific to raceday the gelding has a transiently increased concentration of testosterone which can be noted in post-race samples. These cases are rare and it is possible to differentiate a horse with this response from one administered testosterone or a related product, based on published literature. Dr. Hillyer advised that a course of management was being undertaken by the IHRB in relation to this gelding with longitudinal samples being taken to confirm his ‘atypical testosterone’ status. The trainer could not have been aware of the issue and there were no specific measures that could be taken to prevent the elevated testosterone levels.

In his evidence, Mr. Brassil agreed with the findings of the investigation and accepted the findings of the laboratory. He stated that the horse tended to get excited on raceday.   

Having considered the evidence, the Committee determined that the presence of a prohibited substances in the sample was a breach of Rule 96(c). They ordered that the horse be disqualified, the stake forfeited, and the places be amended to read as follows:

First:                 Great Trango

Second:            Dawn Raider

Third:               Dorans River

Fourth:             Blast of Koeman

Fifth:                Killaro Boy


In view of the circumstances of the case, no additional sanctions were imposed by the Committee in accordance with Rule 96(c).

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

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