Irish Trainer Fined Nearly $29,000 Over 'Serious' Misconduct - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Irish Trainer Fined Nearly $29,000 Over ‘Serious’ Misconduct

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board released a report this week which announced that it has levied a €27,500 (US$28,890) fine against trainer Kieran P. Cotter after one of his runners test positive for Cobalt and a subsequent unannounced search of his yard revealed misconduct of a “serious nature.”

A report received from LGC Laboratories on Feb. 3, 2021, stated that the urine sample taken from Cotter trainee Slade Runner following his win at Dundalk on Jan. 20, 2021, was confirmed to contain cobalt at 119ng/ml, which exceeded the international threshold of 100ng/ml. Cotter requested the option of 'B' sample analysis, and the finding was confirmed by LCH Laboratories France on Feb. 24, with a cobalt concentration of 115ng/ml.

In the meantime, an unannounced search was conducted on Feb. 3, 2021.

Kieran Devlin, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) Veterinary Inspector, told the IHRB “that they inspected several different locations in the yard for the presence of animal remedies including the stable area, a store shed, a garage and the surrounding outside area which included the site of a recent bonfire. On each occasion when an animal remedy was located, he photographed it and made a note of the nature of the product and where it was located. Mr. Devlin stated that, in addition to finding burnt bottles of animal remedies on the bonfire site, other bottles, a number of used syringes and needles with residues, including blood traces, were seized.”

The report continued: “During the inspection numerous products containing cobalt and/or Vitamin B12 were identified. The burnt and other bottles, used needles and syringes seized by the DAFM were submitted by the IHRB under secure chain of custody for analysis at LGC laboratories. Hair and blood were taken from all horses and while no results of concern were returned from any of the horses, the substances identified in the used needles and syringes matched residues found in the bottles on the premises that were of concern, including cobalt, ketoprofen, caffeine, dexamethasone, hydrochlorthiazide, trichlormethiazide and medroxyprogesterone acetate.

“The Medicines Register was also examined, which had not been maintained for a number of years.”

Justice Raymond Groarke led the Referral Committee for the IHRB. The following were the IHRB's primary concerns after hearing all the evidence:

  • used syringes and needles were left lying in a number of locations in the premises, which Cotter stated he was not aware they were there and didn't know where they came from and he said he never used them.
  • The presence also of a large number of unused syringes and needles in the barn.
  • The apparent general use of veterinary medicines, other than under veterinary supervision which suggested that Mr. Cotter was self-medicating some of the horses in his care.
  • The administration via intravenous injection of medicines without veterinary oversight, contrary to proper procedures.
  • Reckless disregard to the potential effects or consequences to administering the cobalt drench to Slade Runner in particular.

As a result, the IHRB issued the following rulings:

  • An order disqualifying the winner, Slade Runner, from first place, the result to be amended accordingly and that both the stake and prize money be forfeited. The Committee imposed a fine of €2,500 in respect of that matter.
  • imposed a fine of €5,000 in respect of a breach of Rule 148(i) in that the Trainer is responsible for everything connected with the welfare, training and running of all Horses under the care of that Trainer and that Slade Runner had been administered cobalt the day before the race.
  • Furthermore, they imposed a fine of €20,000 in respect of a breach of Rule 148(iii) in that he had failed to maintain his Medicines Register, failed to ensure that he and each of his staff having access to medicines were fully conversant with the rules and regulations relating to Prohibited Substances and that he had failed to be responsible for the safe keeping and administration of medicines having failed to securely lock the medicines cabinet.
  • Legal costs of €7,500 were awarded to the IHRB against Cotter.

Read the full IHRB report here.

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