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Michael Hourigan - "Old Head" Prohibited Substance - North Kerry (H) Point to Point, 26th May 2018


The Referrals Committee, Mr. Justice Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Sean Barry and N.P. Lambert,  in the IHRB Office, The Curragh, Co. Kildare, on Thursday, 9th August, 2018, to consider a report from LGC Laboratories which stated that the biological fluid sample taken from “Old Head” following that horse’s win in the 5-y-o & upwards Mares Maiden Race (Division II) at North Kerry (H) Point to Point on 26th May, 2018, was found to contain Tetramisole, which under Rule 20 (v) and Regulation R14 is a Prohibited Substance.

The Committee considered evidence from Dr. Lynn Hillyer, IHRB Chief Veterinary Officer, and from Michael Hourigan, handler.

In her evidence Dr. Hillyer explained to the Committee that Tetramisole is included on the list of prohibited substances and is an isomer (chemically related form) of Levamisole, an anthelmintic for other livestock which can be used “off label” as an immunostimulant in a horse.

In his evidence Michael Hourigan explained that the substance was being used to treat another horse in his care for ulcers and he believed there may have been residue of the substance on the feeding utensils thus resulting in a possible cross contamination.

Having considered the evidence the Committee were satisfied that Michael Hourigan was in breach of Rule 96A and having considered the circumstances waived the fine. The Committee were satisfied that Michael Hourigan was in breach of Rule 148 (iii) for failing to keep the medicines register up to date and fined him €200. They ordered that he pay €400 towards costs,  and stressed that responsibility rested with him to ensure that he complies with the provisions of Regulation R14.

The Committee disqualified “Old Head” from first place and ordered the records be amended to read as follows:-

First:                      Havana River

Second:                Ellie Jack

Third:                    Meadowview

The case was presented to the Committee by Cliodhna Guy, IHRB Head of Legal & Compliance.

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