Results of enquiries (A King, M Meade, Huntingdon Racecourse) heard by the Disciplinary Panel on Thursday 18 February

18 Feb 2016

In absence – Alan King

On 18 February 2016, the Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) held an enquiry into the analysis of the urine ordered to be taken from MIDNIGHT CATARIA, trained by Alan King, by the Stewards at Kempton Park after the filly was placed second in the William Hill – Bet On The Move Handicap Chase on 18 October 2015.  The sample tested positive for Triamcinolone acetonide, a prohibited substance as defined in Schedule (G)1 paragraph 7, in breach of Rule (G)2.1 of the Rules of Racing. The Panel also considered whether or not to take action under Rule (A)74.2 Ground 3 in respect of the possible disqualification of the filly. The Panel also considered whether King was in breach of Rule (C)13 for failing to keep a full record of the treatments administered to horses under his care and control on various occasions.

The Panel noted that King had requested that the matter be heard in his absence.  The BHA’s case was presented by Sheena Chohan.

The Panel noted that King had explained that MIDNIGHT CATARIA had been lame in August 2015 and was therefore examined by his Veterinary Surgeon, Jeremy Swan. Mr Swan initially nerve blocked for lameness in the hock with Intra-Epicaine on 25 August 2015. On 27 August 2015 Mr Swan returned to administer .5ml Domidine, .5ml Torbugesic, one vial of Amikin and three vials (1ml per vial at 10mg/ml) of Adcortyl via intra articular injection.  Mr Swan advised King to allow a withdrawal period of 21 days.

The Panel also noted that King did not challenge the finding, and did not elect for analysis of the ‘B’ sample.

Having considered the evidence, the Panel agreed that on the balance of probability, the source of the positive was the injection administered by King’s Veterinary Surgeon on 27 August 2015. The Panel found King in breach of Rule (G)2.1 and imposed a fine of £1,000.

Under Rule (A)74.2 the Panel disqualified MIDNIGHT CATARIA from the race, placing KING’S LEGACY (IRE) second and HATTERS RIVER (IRE) third.

The Panel further noted that following interview on 11 November 2015 an examination of the yard’s computerised records and the NTF medication book had showed a number of omissions which did not comply with the requirements of Rule (C)13. Therefore, the Panel also found King in breach of Rule (C)13 and fined him £500.

The Panel acknowledged that Mr Swan had recommended improvements to the recording of medicines in King’s yard in the future.


In absence – Martyn Meade

On 18 February 2016, the Disciplinary Panel of the BHA held an enquiry to consider whether EXPLAIN, trained by Martyn Meade, should be disqualified under Rule (A)74, Ground 4, of the Rules of Racing, as a result of having received a vaccination six days prior to running in the 3.15p.m. Watch on 3 Devices Handicap race at Haydock Park on 17 July 2015, contrary to Schedule (B)3 paragraph 10.2.  Also, whether Meade was in breach of Rule (C)37.1 by declaring EXPLAIN to run at Haydock when the horse was not qualified to do so.

Meade acknowledged that he was in breach, and did not attend the enquiry in person, though he did provide written submissions both from himself and his legal representative, Dawn Bacchus, National Trainers Federation. The BHA’s case was presented by Ms Shruti Sharma.

The Panel noted that upon arrival at Haydock Park the gelding’s passport was examined by Veterinary Officer Matthew Tong, which indicated that the gelding had received an equine influenza and Tetanus vaccination (Proteq Flu Te) six days before on 11 July 2015. Accordingly, EXPLAIN was ineligible to run under Schedule (B)3 paragraph 10.2, which states “the horse must not have been given any vaccination on the day of the race or on any of the six days before the day of the race in which the horse is declared to run”.

When Meade had arrived at Haydock Park racecourse, BHA officials had explained that EXPLAIN was not eligible to run. Meade had examined the passport and questioned the accuracy of the recorded date of the vaccination and suggested that the administration of the vaccination may have been 10 July 2015 and therefore EXPLAIN was eligible to run.

Meade informed the Stipendiary Steward, Sean McDonald, that he could provide evidence that EXPLAIN had been vaccinated on 10 July 2015 and he agreed to send a certification electronically to Mr McDonald. Meade produced, by email, an electronic certificate in the name of Veterinary Surgeon Tristan Sander of Baker, McVeigh & Clements, Newmarket, (the Practice) confirming that the date shown in the passport was incorrect and the vaccination was in fact administered on 10 July 2015. This had been accepted by the BHA Stewards and the gelding was allowed to run.  EXPLAIN finished sixth of seven runners.

At approximately 6.50p.m., Veterinary Surgeon Duncan Moir of the Practice contact the BHA’s Chief Veterinary  Officer, Jenny Hall, to advise her that he had vaccinated EXPLAIN on 11 July 2015, that the date shown in the passport was correct and as a result, EXPLAIN was in fact ineligible for the race. Following this Meade contacted the other race-day Stipendiary Steward Louise Moore and left a message indicating that he was calling to bring the issue surrounding EXPLAIN’s certificate to the BHA’s attention as he had also been contacted by the Practice regarding the date of the vaccination.

On 22 July 2015 the BHA Investigating Officer received an email from Meade stating that he had only questioned EXPLAIN’s passport as the Practice’s Veterinary Surgeons who usually dealt with his horses had not been at his yard on 11 July 2015 and therefore his secretary had contacted the Practice. As his usual Veterinary Surgeons were unavailable she had spoken with the Practice secretary.

The BHA Investigating Officer had then contacted Mr Perez de Villar, Veterinary Surgeon at the Practice who stated that EXPLAIN had been inoculated by Mr Duncan Moir on 11 July 2015 and the horse’s passport and the yard’s medical book were filled out accordingly. Mr Moir had been at his yard to perform the vetting of another horse. On 17 July 2015, the Practice secretary had received three telephone calls from Meade’s secretary and had tried to contact one of Meade’s Veterinary Surgeons.  On the third call Meade’s secretary had explained that the vaccination entry in EXPLAIN’s passport was incorrect and the BHA Stewards were not allowing EXPLAIN to run. Although there was a paper record of the vaccination administration in Mr Moir’s practice file, the Practice secretary was unaware of this. Meade’s secretary had insisted that the information that she was giving was correct and given the time constrains, the Practice secretary had typed up and sent the requested document without consultation or involvement from any of the veterinarians or senior members of staff

On 25 July 2015 Meade was interviewed by the BHA Investigating Officer and stated that the reason he had questioned whether EXPLAIN had been vaccinated on 11 July 2015 was because that day was a Saturday and he thought that it would have been unlikely that a Veterinary Surgeon would have been at his yard at the weekend, particularly as his regular Veterinary Surgeon had already been at his yard on 9 and 10 July 2015.

Meade further stated that he did not know that the vaccination had been given by Mr Moir and he assumed such routine procedures would be performed by his regular vets. He admitted that he had been aware of the vetting taking place on 11 July 2015, however he did not consider this as a potential date on which the vaccination could have been given to EXPLAIN. He had accepted that he did not look at the Veterinary Surgeon’s signature and/or stamp when examining the passport and had he done so, he would have seen Mr Moir’s name. He accepted that he would either have realised that Mr Moir had been at his yard on 11 July 2015 or would have passed the correct vets name to his secretary.

The Panel noted the BHA submission that at the time of declaration, Meade would have had available to him EXPLAIN’s passport and his yard’s Veterinary Practice treatment book to check the gelding’s vaccination status. If he had checked the passport and had been unsure about the date of EXPLAIN’s vaccination, he could have made inquiries with the Practice without the time pressures that were in existence on the day of the race and which inevitably led to the confusion and production of the inaccurate certificate. However, the BHA was not submitting that Meade or his staff in any way intended to mislead the BHA during the course of events on 17 July 2015.

The Panel found Meade in breach of Schedule (B)3 paragraph 10.2 and imposed a fine of £1,000.  It further disqualified EXPLAIN from the race placing INNISCASTLE LAD sixth.  It directed that any prize monies be returned.


2.00p.m.  – Huntingdon Racecourse 

The Disciplinary Panel of the BHA on 18 February 2016 held an enquiry to consider whether or not Jockey Club Racecourses – Huntingdon, in its capacity as the Managing Executive of Huntingdon Racecourse, had committed a breach of Rule (F)15.2.3 of the Rules of Racing, in the light of BHA General Instruction 12.1 (paragraphs 3 & 4), headed “Racecourse Veterinary Surgeons – Requirements”, in that Dr Sophie Wilkinson BVetMed MRCVS, who was on duty as one of its designated Veterinary Surgeons at Huntingdon on 26 December 2015 had not been qualified for at least 5 years before acting.

The Panel heard submissions from Lyn Williams, BHA Case Manager, Ms Sian Williams, General Manager and Dr Stuart Thorne BSc, PhD, BVSc, MRCVS, Senior Veterinary Officer, Fellowes Farm Equine Clinic Ltd.

The Panel noted that the three Veterinary Surgeons on duty at Huntingdon Racecourse had been appointed by Dr Thorne.  He had mistakenly thought that Dr Wilkinson needed only complete the approved course in Equine Emergency Care before being suitably qualified. She had attended the course on 7 and 8 December 2015 and was rotated to work at Huntingdon, for the first time, on 26 December 2015. However, Dr Wilkinson had qualified in 2011 and was therefore 4 years and 5 months qualified at the time of the meeting and not 5 years as required by BHA General Instructions.

Dr Thorne had also stated that at no time was the welfare of any horse jeopardised by the fact that Dr Wilkinson was on duty as she was an experienced equine clinician working 100% equine practice since qualifying.

The Executive admitted a breach of the Rules from the outset, which admission the Panel had accepted.

The Panel also noted that to prevent this oversight occurring in the future all suitably qualified Veterinary Surgeons at Fellowes Farm Equine Clinic Ltd had written to Dr Thorne confirming this to be the case. A list of all the suitably qualified Veterinary Surgeons had been sent to the Managing Executive at Huntingdon Racecourse so that they could cross reference the names submitted to them prior to each future meeting.

The Panel accepted that the breach was through an administrative error on behalf of the Veterinary Practice and the first error in 25 years of the Practice officiating at Huntingdon racecourse. It also accepted that the horses’ welfare had not been compromised in any way.

The Panel found the Executive in breach of Rule (F)15.2.3 and imposed a fine of £2,500.


Notes to Editors:
1. The Panel for the hearings was: Lucinda Cavendish (Chair), Roger Bellamy, Ian Stark