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P J Rothwell (Trainer) Prohibited Substance Referral - Fairyhouse 7 November 2023

The Referrals Committee, Mr Peter M Allen (Chairman) Mr John McGuire and Mr John Murphy convened in the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on Tuesday, 14 May 2024 to consider whether Philip Rothwell (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 21 November 2023, confirmed that the blood sample taken from Duffys Getaway following his win in the Sign Up To Gavin Lynch Racing Handicap Hurdle at Fairyhouse on 7 November 2023 was confirmed by LGC Laboratories to contain triamcinolone acetonide (TCA). 

The option of ‘B’ sample analysis was requested by Mr Rothwell on 10 December 2023. The ‘B’ sample was confirmed by LCH Laboratory, France as returning an adverse analytical finding for triamcinolone acetonide on 16 January 2024.

Evidence was heard from Mr Rothwell and Dr Lynn Hillyer, IHRB Chief Veterinary Officer and Head of Anti-Doping.

In her evidence, Dr Hillyer explained that TCA is a corticosteroid anti-inflammatory medication commonly used in equine practice. She stated that there is no published Detection Time for TCA but there is a minimum Stand Down time of 14 days which must be given after an intra-articular administration of the drug. Dr Hillyer explained that TCA is extremely effective as it is given locally – this is why care must be taken to observe a long enough Withdrawal Time, particularly when administered into stifles, backs and when these areas are inflamed/diseased.  Dr Hillyer outlined how this has been specifically flagged to trainers and veterinary surgeons via Seminars, talks and the Equine Anti-Doping Report produced by the IHRB, and thatelective testing is offered to trainers to allow them check whether long enough has been left.

In his evidence, Mr Rothwell accepted the adverse analytical finding. Mr Rothwell stated that he has had over 350 horses tested and has never had any issue in the last 20 years. He explained the horse was slightly lame behind and his local vet treated his hind joint accordingly. However, a few weeks later Mr Rothwell referred the horse to Fethard Equine Hospital where it was determined the horse had an issue with his sacroiliac joint. Mr Rothwell explained that the sacroiliac joint was treated with TCA, and he followed veterinary advice in that 42 days was best practice for a withdrawal period. Mr Rothwell suggested he has done everything in his power to bring his yard to the highest possible standard in this regard and felt he had left enough time for withdrawal prior to running.

Mr Allen delivered the following decision on behalf of the Referrals Committee:

“We have come to the conclusion that the substance in question is widely used and there is a lot of studies and publications in relation to its withdrawal period that are freely available to all practising veterinary surgeons. We are also conscious that on this occasion, two injections of the same drug were given to the horse within a four-week period. One by Mr Rothwell’s local vet and one by Fethard Equine Hospital just four weeks later, according to the evidence we have received. In such circumstances we think that serious consideration should be given to the elective testing process, and it should have been considered by Mr Rothwell.

We do find Mr Rothwell in breach of Rule 96(a), we disqualify the horse from the race in question, the stake is to be forfeited and we fine Mr Rothwell the sum of €1,000.

In relation to the Veterinary Medicines register we also find Mr Rothwell in breach of Rule 148(iii)(b). As a penalty in relation to failing to keep up-to-date veterinary Medicines Register, we are fining Mr Rothwell the sum of €750.”

The Amended result of Sign Up To Gavin Lynch Racing Handicap Hurdle now reads:

First:              Kiln Time

Second:        Mahler Appeal

Third:             Drimsree Lad

Fourth:          Lightontheriver

Fifth:              Ferrum (GB)

The case was presented by Ms Bébhinn Murphy, BL. Mr Rothwell represented himself at the hearing.

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