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Shay Slevin - “O’Hanrahan Bridge” Prohibited Substance


The Referrals Committee, Sean Barry (in the Chair), Philip McLernon and P.J.A. O’Connor, met in the Turf Club Office, The Curragh, Co. Kildare, on Wednesday, 5th July, 2017, to consider a report from BHP Laboratories in Limerick which stated that the biological fluid sample taken from “O’Hanrahan Bridge” following that horse’s win in the 5-y-o Geldings Maiden Race (Division II) at South Union (F) Kinsale Point to Point on 3rd June, 2017, was found to contain dexamethasone, which under Rule 20 (v) and Regulation R14 is a Prohibited Substance.

The Committee considered evidence from Dr. Lynn Hillyer, Turf Club Chief Veterinary Officer, and from Shay Slevin, handler.

In his evidence Shay Slevin could not account as to how the substance was within the horse’s system.  He explained that his son was a veterinary surgeon and that he was responsible for the administration of medication to horses in his care.  He also explained that there was no medication kept on his premises.

In her evidence Dr. Hillyer explained to the Committee that dexamethasone was a corticosteroid medication which was legitimately used in horses as an analgesic with anti-inflammatory properties.  It was commonly used and as such had been the subject of research in the past to set an International Screening Limit, linked with published Detection Times.  During the investigation into the adverse analytical finding, there was no reference in the medicines register to suggest that any horse in Mr. Slevin’s care had been administered this medication or any medication that bore any relation to dexamethasone was recorded and no source of the finding could be identified. 

Having considered the evidence the Committee were satisfied that Shay Slevin was in breach of Rules 96 and 148 (iii) and taking all circumstances into account fined him €1,000.  They stressed that responsibility rested with him to ensure that he complies with the provisions of Regulation R14.  The Committee disqualified O’Hanrahan Bridge from first place and ordered the records be amended to read as follows:-

First:  De Name Evades Me,
Second: Duhallow Tornado,
Third:  Double Dipper.

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

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