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Thomas Sherry (Rider) - Banned Substance Referral, Gowran Park, 4th June 2018


The Referrals Committee, Justice Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Nicholas P. Lambert and Sean Barry met at the Offices of the IHRB, Curragh, Co. Kildare on Thursday, 9th August 2018 to consider a report from IMIM Hospitaldelmar in Barcelona, Spain, that samples of urine taken from Thomas Sherry, Rider, during in-competition testing at Gowran Park Racecourse, Co. Kilkenny on 4th June 2018 were found to contain Benzoylecgonine (metabolite of cocaine).

Under the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules, cocaine is a banned substance because it acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system with addictive and hallucinogenic properties and is prohibited in-competition pursuant to the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List International Standard as adopted by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board. Thomas Sherry asked for the B sample to be analysed and the result of the analysis carried out on 19th July 2018 confirmed the A sample findings.

Evidence was heard from Dr Adrian McGoldrick, Senior Turf Club Medical Officer, Thomas Sherry and Stephen Thorne, Assistant Trainer to Adrian McGuinness, (Thomas Sherry’s Master).  The Committee also noted a number of references and other information that had been provided.

At the outset, Andrew Coonan stated that Thomas Sherry was not contesting the findings and accepted that he was in breach of Rule 277(i).

Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee accepted the guilty plea and confirmed the breach of Rule 277(i).

In arriving at penalty, the Referrals Committee took into account the exceptional circumstances of this case and also a number of mitigating factors specific to this case.

They imposed a penalty of a four year suspension of Thomas Sherry’s licence to apply with effect from 10th July 2018. In view of the exceptional circumstances and the mitigating factors, they agreed that they would review the matter again in 2019, should Mr. Sherry reapply to the Committee, whereupon they would consider the issue of a partial suspension of the penalty, depending on evidence of Mr. Sherry’s positive engagement with medical, employment, counselling and associated matters at that time. They also agreed that the issue of costs will be dealt with at the next hearing.

The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Solicitor, Head of Licensing, Legal and Compliance.  Thomas Sherry was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley, Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.


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