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Raymond Beresford (Handler) Prohibited Substance Referral – Boulta 8th December 2019

The Referrals Committee, Justice Tony Hunt, (in the chair), Mr. Peter M. Allen and Mr. Peter N. Reynolds convened at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown, Co. Dublin on 17th August 2020 to consider whether or not Raymond Beresford (Handler) was in breach of any rules as a result of a report received from LGC Laboratories, Fordham, UK.

The report stated that the blood sample taken from South Terrace (IRE) following his win in the second division of the Hickey Bros Precast & Ryall O’Mahoney 4yo Geldings Maiden at Boulta on 8th December 2019, was found to contain cobalt. Under Rule 20 (v) and Regulation R14 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules cobalt is a prohibited substance.

The trainer declined the option to have the B sample analysed.

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

In her evidence, Dr Hillyer summarised the investigation into the adverse analytical finding. She confirmed that cobalt is an essential micronutrient needed for B12 synthesis but is controlled in racing by an internationally agreed threshold as it can be administered with the intention of affecting performance. She noted that when regulatory authorities, including the IHRB, had published these thresholds, they had gone to considerable lengths to publish safe practice in relation to products containing cobalt leading up to a race.  She stated that Mr. Beresford provided details of the supplements, feeds and medicines to which South Terrace (IRE) had been exposed in the week preceding the race in question. Administration of the products detailed by Mr. Beresford at the times indicated did not account for the concentration of cobalt present in the blood sample taken from South Terrace (IRE) at just over three times the threshold. Dr. Hillyer gave her opinion based on the evidence and taking account of a review of an expert report provided by Professor Stuart Paine, that South Terrace (IRE) had received an additional source of cobalt on the day of the race.

In his evidence, Mr. Beresford stated that he accepted the findings of the laboratory. He said that he believed that South Terrace (IRE) may have eaten some of a cattle supplement block which was in a field to which the horse gained temporary access after a storm blew down the electric tape. He stated that he believed that a sample of this cattle supplement was going to be analysed as part of the IHRB investigation and that this may offer some assistance to the case but he could offer no further explanation.

Dr. Hillyer explained that scientific evidence ruled out any potential effect of exposure to the cattle supplement with the horse having been put back in his stable the day before the race in question.

Having considered the evidence, the Committee were satisfied that Mr. Beresford was in breach of Regulation 96(a), as a prohibited substance was present in the sample taken from the horse, and Regulation 87(vii)(d) in that the horse had been administered a substance other than normal feed and water on the day of the race. They disqualified South Terrace (IRE), ordered that the stake be forfeited and amended the result to read as follows:

First:        Champagne Wilde (IRE)

The Committee also imposed a €3,000 fine on Mr. Beresford.

The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Head of Legal, Licensing & Compliance. Mr. Beresford was represented by Kieran O’Connell of Joseph P. Gordon & Co Solicitors, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.


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