Enquiries (William Turner, Ryan Clark, Jason Ward) heard by the Disciplinary Panel on Thursday 17 November

17 Nov 2016 Disciplinary Panel - Other decisions

William Turner

1. The Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) held an enquiry on 17 November 2016 into the analysis of the urine ordered to be taken from WHO TOLD JO JO (IRE), trained by William Turner, by the Stewards at Ripon after the colt was placed second in the SIS Trading Services Novice Auction Stakes on 6 May 2016. The sample tested positive for a prohibited substance, in breach of Rule (G)2.1 of the Rules of Racing.

Also, whether Mr Turner was in breach of Rule (C)37 by virtue of the fact that WHO TOLD JO JO (IRE) ran in the race when not qualified to do so, having been administered a substance other than normal feed and water contrary to Schedule (B)3 paragraph 7 of the Rules of Racing. Finally, the Panel considered whether or not to take action under Rule (A)74.2 Ground 3 in respect of the possible disqualification of the colt.

2. Prior to the enquiry, both parties had agreed that they had no objection to the Panel members sitting and Mr Turner had requested that the matter be heard in his absence. The BHA had no objection and its case was presented by Andrew Howell.

3. The Panel noted that the urine sample taken from WHO TOLD JO JO (IRE) was found to contain Minoxidil which is a prohibited substance. The trainer did not exercise his right to have the ‘B’ sample analysed. Minoxidil is an antihypertensive drug, used to lower blood pressure, acting mainly by causing the arterioles to increase in diameter. It is used in humans to treat severe hypertension when administered orally. When applied topically to the scalp, Minoxidil may also act to stimulate hair growth to a limited extent. There are no licensed preparations of Minoxidil for use in animals but numerous preparations containing Minoxidil are available in the UK for use in humans. Human preparations prescribed to lower blood pressure in the UK are sold under the brand name Loniten, and hair products that are used to stimulate hair growth are sold under a number of brand names, including Regaine. There was the possibility of either cross contamination from use in a person in contact with the colt or direct administration of the human product to the colt. The BHA considered it difficult to justify the use of the substance for use under the cascade, for horses.

Alleged breach of Rule (G)2.1

4. Mr Howell submitted that following the positive analysis, on 13 June, 2016, BHA Investigating Officers attended Mr Turner’s yard to interview him. Also in attendance was his daughter and Head Lass, Ms Kathy Turner. It was established from the outset of the interview that Ms Turner was using the hair produce Regaine on her hair on a daily basis. Mr Turner suspected that the contamination was via Ms Turner’s hands when tending to the colt after using Regaine. It was also established that Ms Turner had been using the product for approximately two months prior to the race. Ms Turner explained that she applied the product once a day at no specific time and confirmed that she would always wash her hands after use. She did not wear gloves during the application.

5. On the occasion of the race, Mr Turner and Ms Turner travelled to Ripon with the colt the day before the race due to the distance from the yard. They had stayed in overnight stable staff accommodation. Ms Turner confirmed that she had used the product in the usual fashion on the day of the race approximately two hours before and she would then have gone to the stables to prepare WHO TOLD JO JO (IRE) for the race.

6. In preparing the colt Ms Turner applied Green Ice Gel to the colt’s front legs in the racecourse stable which she had explained was instead of applying cold bandages as the horse was a colt and would have kicked off the bandages. This was done approximately an hour before the race and Ms Turner confirmed that she would not have worn gloves when applying the Green Ice Gel. At interview she was asked whether the colt may have nuzzled her hair when she was applying the gel which she was unable to confirm as she was not thinking of this at the time and did not notice.

7. Mr Turner saddled WHO TOLD JO JO (IRE) and Ms Turner led the horse up, neither had noticed anything unusual with him during this time. Mr Turner had confirmed that he did not directly apply Regaine to the colt and had never done this to any horse in his care. He also did not know of anyone else in his yard using Regaine. He had never heard of Loniten and was not using any blood pressure tablets and nor did he know of anyone else in his yard using such tablets.

8. Examination of the NTF Veterinary Records for WHO TOLD JO JO (IRE) from 18 August 2015 to 27 April 2016 confirmed that there were no entries for Regaine, Loniten or Minoxidil and Minoxidil was not found anywhere on the yard.  The only product identified during the visit that contained Minoxidil was the Regaine product that had been presented by Ms Turner. Alistair Lees, Mr Turner’s Veterinary Surgeon from the Shavehill Equine Clinic, later confirmed in writing that up until 16 June 2016 when the horse was castrated, Shavehill Equine Clinic had not treated WHO TOLD JO JO (IRE). Further enquiries with Richard Holmes, Mr Turner’s farrier, had confirmed that he had shod the horse two or three days before the race but had confirmed that he had not been taking blood pressure tablets and was not using any hair regrowth products.

9. The BHA’s Veterinary Advisor for Anti-Doping and Medication Control at the time, Dr Lynn Hillyer, had considered that the likelihood of cross contamination on the basis of the explanation provided by Mr Turner and Ms Turner. She had confirmed that it was a possibility but not necessarily a likelihood that the cause of the Adverse Analytical Finding was as a result of the Regaine used by Ms Turner, however, if this had been the case then it was more likely that the colt had directly contracted the product from Ms Turner’s head via the ‘mucous membranes of his mouth and/or nose than via her hands contacting his legs during his preparation for the race’.

10. The BHA accepted that there was no suggestion that Mr Turner had been involved in any dishonesty or cheating. Mr Howell also submitted that where the source could not be identified, the trainer, as the responsible person had strict liability.

11. After considering the evidence, the Panel was unable to establish the source of the substance, and could not therefore be satisfied that the administration of the substance was accidental and that the trainer had taken all reasonable care.

12. The Panel found Mr Turner in breach of Rule (G)2.1 and imposed a fine of £1,000.

Alleged breach of Rule (C)37

13. During the investigation it had become apparent that Ms Turner had applied the produce Green Ice Gel to the colt whilst in the racecourse stables prior to the race. The Veterinary Officer on duty at the race, Robin White, had confirmed that he had never been asked by a trainer to allow the use of Green Ice Gel in the racecourse stables pre-race. Green Ice Gel is plainly a substance other than normal feed or water. Therefore, Mr Turner was in breach of Rule (C)37.1 on the basis that as the Responsible Person, he had run a horse in a race which was not qualified to do so under the provision of Schedule (B)3 paragraph 7.1.

14. The Panel found Mr Turner in breach of Rule (C)37.1 and imposed a fine of £1,000.

15. Under Rule (A)74.2 Ground 3, the Panel disqualified WHO TOLD JO JO (IRE) from the race, placing KROV second, PULSATING (IRE) third and POWERLESS (IRE) fourth.  The Panel directed that any prize money paid out in relation to the above race be returned.

Ryan Clark

1. The Disciplinary Panel of the BHA held an enquiry on 17 November 2016 to consider whether or not Ryan Clark, a licensed jockey, had committed a breach of Rule (D)65 of the Rules of Racing in that a urine sample taken from him on 20 September 2016 at Lingfield Park racecourse tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, which is, pursuant to Rule (D)58 and Schedule (D)3 Part 1, a Banned Substance.

2. Prior to the enquiry, both parties had agreed that they had no objection to the Panel members sitting.

3. The BHA’s case was presented by Danielle Sharkey and Mr Clark, who was in attendance, was represented by Rory Mac Neice.

4. Miss Sharkey submitted that Alere Toxicology testing services were present at Lingfield Park racecourse on 20 September 2016 and pursuant to Rule (D)61.2.3 and Schedule (D)4 paragraph 6.1, Mr Clark was required to provide a urine sample for analysis. The sample was sent for analysis and the result confirmed that benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, at a level of 550ng/ml was present. On 30 September 2016 Mr Clark’s licence was suspended.

5. Mr Clark was interviewed by BHA Investigating Officers on 13 October 2016 and he stated that he recalled that on the night of Saturday 17 September he had gone out with friends and had become intoxicated. He explained that he could not remember much about the evening due to the amount of alcohol that he had consumed, and explained that because he did not drink often, it did not long for him to become drunk. Mr Clark stated that he could not remember taking cocaine, but following the positive result he had made enquiries with his friends who had confirmed that he had taken cocaine that evening.

6. Miss Sharkey further submitted that the recommended penalty for such a breach, when the Banned Substance identified was cocaine, was to withdraw a licence for a period at the top of the recommended range, which was 6 months. The BHA submitted that this penalty should be imposed accordingly, however pursuant to Schedule (D)4 paragraph 9, the period of suspension already served by Mr Clark should be credited against any penalty the Disciplinary Panel imposed.

7. Mr Mac Neice submitted that Mr Clark accepted full responsibility for his mistake and was determined to get his career back on track. He stated that should the BHA require it, Mr Clark would make himself available for interim drug testing during the period of the suspension imposed.

8. Taking all the submissions into account the Panel suspended Mr Clark from riding for 6 months from 30 September 2016 to 29 March 2017 inclusive.

9. The Panel hoped that during his period of suspension Mr Clark would receive professional advice and guidance.

Jason Ward

1. The Disciplinary Panel of the BHA held an enquiry on 17 November 2016 to consider whether or not Jason Ward had committed a breach of Rule (A)30 of the Rules of Racing by virtue of the fact that he acted in a manner which was prejudicial to the good reputation of horseracing in Great Britain.

2. Prior to the enquiry, both parties had agreed that they had no objection to the Panel members sitting.

3. The BHA’s case was presented by Sheena Wynn and Mr Ward, who was in attendance, was represented by Roderick Moore.

4. Mrs Wynn submitted that on 1 November 2016 MONTE CINQ (IRE), trained by Mr Ward, was placed first in the 32Red.com Maiden Stakes at Wolverhampton. Following the race Mr Ward was interviewed live by At The Races (ATR) and asked to comment on the performance of the horse. It was the BHA’s case that his response involved a comment which referenced an offensive and inappropriate racial connotation. The comment subsequently led to adverse publicity for the sport, including reporting of the comment on social media, by the BBC and the Racing Post and brought British Horseracing into disrepute.

5. Mrs Wynn also submitted that the BHA had had sight of the apology which Mr Ward posted on his website following the race and noted that he deemed the matter sufficiently serious to issue such an apology.

6. Mr Moore submitted that during the interview Mr Ward was momentarily unguarded and showed a serious lack of judgement, and accepted that his remarks were lewd and unprofessional. Mr Ward had immediately apologised to ATR, on his website and in the Racing Post and stated that there was no intention to offend viewers of ATR or any of the wider racing public.

7. The Disciplinary Panel found Mr Ward to be in breach of Rule (A)30 and fined him £1,200.

Notes to Editors:

1. The Panel for the enquiries was: Lucinda Cavendish (Chair), Diana Powles and Jeremy Barlow.