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Thomas Gray (Trainer) – Prohibited Substance Referral – Dundalk 11th November 2022

The Referrals Committee, Ms. Susan Ahern (Chair), Mr. John McGuire and Mr. John Murphy convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on Wednesday, 26th July 2023 to consider whether or not Thomas Gray (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 29th November 2022 confirmed that the urine sample taken from El C Wells (GB) following her win in the second division of the Christmas Party Nights at Dundalk Handicap on 11th November 2022, was confirmed by LGC Laboratories to contain cinchophen. Under Rule 20(v) and Regulation R14 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules cinchophen is a non-approved substance. 

The option of ‘B’ Sample analysis was requested by Mr. Gray. LCH Laboratory, France reported the ‘B’ Sample to contain cinchophen on 20th January 2023.

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

In her evidence, Dr. Hillyer outlined the details of the IHRB investigation. She explained that cinchophen is a drug developed in the 19th century for the treatment of gout and arthritis and that its use in humans stopped in the 1930’s because of its toxicity. It was an ingredient in prednoleucotropin (PLT), a medication formerly used in the treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs with analgesic and anti-pyretic effects at higher doses before being withdrawn from the veterinary market in Ireland in 2008 and from the market in the United Kingdom in 2020. Dr. Hillyer confirmed that although cinchophen is not an anabolic steroid, following assessment of the substance during this investigation and through processes involving the professional opinions of the Chief Veterinary Officers of the European Horserace Scientific Liaison Committee, it was the IHRB’s view that cinchophen is a Prohibited At All Times substance because it is not a valid veterinary treatment as defined in Paragraph 1.1 of Regulation 14 (non-approved substances). No explanation for the adverse analytical finding was identified by either Mr Gray, the horse’s owner or from the investigation.

In his evidence, Mr. Gray explained that he had taken out his licence to train a small number of horses as a hobby and that this was his first winner and a very memorable occasion for him. However, he was shocked to find himself notified of the adverse analytical finding and he could not explain it. Mr. Gray stated that he had made enquiries about what products could contain the substance but was unable to identify any but he accepted the evidence of Dr. Hillyer and the reports from the laboratories.

Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee found Mr. Gray in breach of Rule 96(c), ordered that the stake be forfeited and the result amended accordingly. The Chair of the Referrals Committee, Ms. Ahern, read out the following decision on behalf of the committee:

“The panel has had the opportunity to consider the submissions made in relation to sanction and to mitigation. Mr. Gray has been found in breach of Rule 96(c) and therefore the horse is disqualified from the race at Dundalk on 11thNovember 2022, the stake is forfeited, and the places amended accordingly. As the substance involved is Prohibited At All Times, the horse is also disqualified from the subsequent race at Dundalk on 23rd November 2022m the stake is forfeited and the places amended accordingly. Furthermore, the horse, El C Wells, is suspended for a period of 12 months which is backdated to 23rd November 2022 which was the last race the horse took part in. This means the horse will be able to recommence running on the track again from 24th November 2023. A fine of €1,000 shall be issued against the trainer, Mr. Thomas Gray.”


11th November 2022 Christmas Party Nights at Dundalk Handicap (Division 2) – Amended result

1st         Early Strike (FR)

2nd        Chateau Musar

3rd        Mephisto

4th        Cliffs Of Malta

5th        Moving

6th        Little Trigger


23rd November 2022 Book Online at Handicap (Division 1) – Amended result

1st         Alphonse Le Grande

2nd        Wonder Spirit (GB)

3rd        The Lion Strikes

4th        Tara Power

5th        Peppermint Bay

6th        Clueless Hill


The case was presented by Ms. Clíodhna Guy, IHRB Head of Legal, Licensing and Compliance.

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