1. The Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) held an enquiry on 25 August 2016 into the analysis of the urine ordered to be taken from ANY CURRENCY (IRE), trained by Martin Keighley, by the Stewards at Cheltenham after the gelding was placed first in the Glenfarclas Steeple Chase on 16 March 2016. The samples tested positive for a prohibited substance, 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 gelding.
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. Jacqueline Brown represented Martin Keighley who was also in attendance.
4. The urine sample taken from ANY CURRENCY (IRE) was found to contain triamcinolone acetonide (“TCA”) and its hydroxylated metabolite, both prohibited substances. The trainer exercised his right to have the ‘B’ sample analysed, which confirmed the original finding.
5. TCA is a synthetic corticosteroid with anti-inflammatory and analgesic action. There are a number of licensed preparations containing TCA available for use in humans, but there are no licensed veterinary preparations of TCA. The human preparation of TCA, sold under the brand name Adcortyl®, can be prescribed for use in animals under the prescribing cascade as set out by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and there are no welfare concerns with its use.
6. Ms Sharkey stated that on 14 April 2016, following the positive analysis, BHA Investigating Officers interviewed Mr Keighley, Jamie Goldstein, his assistant trainer, and Mrs Belinda Keighley. Mr Keighley explained that it was standard practice for his equine physiotherapist, Maggie Turner, to check over any of his horses that were due to run in the future. As such, Ms Turner visited the yard on 1 February 2016 and examined ANY CURRENCY (IRE). After trotting the gelding, Ms Turner reported that the horse was ‘definitely stiff through hocks’ and as a result, she had raised the question whether or not to ‘inject hocks’.
7. Mr Keighley reported Ms Turner’s observations to his Veterinary Surgeon, Mr Jeremy Swan of Bourton Vale Equine Clinic, who visited the yard 2 days later. Mr Goldstein was present when Mr Swan visited the yard. Mr Swan agreed with Ms Turner’s observations and as a result medicated the hocks. Mr Swan was aware of the intention to run ANY CURRENCY (IRE) mid-March at the Cheltenham Festival and indicated that the proximity of the treatment to the race would not be an issue. The NTF medication record for ANY CURRENCY (IRE) on 3 February 2016 records the administration of Adcortyl into the gelding’s hock along with Amikin, an antibiotic, and sedatives, Domidine® and Torbugesic®.
8. Pursuant to Schedule (B)3 paragraph 11A, the BHA has a mandatory 14 day stand-down period from racing following the administration of the intra-articular corticosteroid, which on the facts of the case would have meant that ANY CURRENCY (IRE) was technically eligible to run on 18 February 2016. Despite the fact that Mr Keighley adhered to the Rule, the BHA guidance states that the Withdrawal Time may be longer than the minimum stand-down period. From the date of the administration to the gelding to the date of the race there were 41 clear days.
9. Ms Brown stated that Mr Keighley admitted a breach of (G)2.1. Mr Keighley had allowed 41 days for the drug to leave the horse’s system against a mandatory 14 day stand-down period. She stated that Mr Keighley had met all his obligations as a trainer but despite all such efforts the horse had tested positive. On the matter of disqualification she stated that the Panel had discretion. She also suggested that the Panel had discretion over whether the prize money could be reallocated should ANY CURRENCY (IRE) be disqualified. The Panel disagreed and felt that Under Rule (G)2.1 there was strict liability with the horse testing positive and therefore the horse must be disqualified and the prize money should be allocated as per the revised result.
After considering the evidence, the Panel was satisfied that, on the balance of probabilities, the administration of Adcortyl to ANY CURRENCY (IRE) on 3 February 2016 was the source of the positive finding.
10. The Panel found Mr Keighley in breach of Rule (G)2.1 but did not impose a fine. The Panel felt that Mr Keighley had taken all reasonable measures and that the presence of TCA in the horse after 41 days was exceptional and, therefore, a fine should not be imposed. It did not order that a contribution be made towards the cost of the B Sample analysis.
11. Under Rule (A)74.2 Ground 3, the Panel disqualified ANY CURRENCY (IRE) from the race, placing JOSIES ORDERS (IRE) first, BLESS THE WINGS (IRE) second, QUANTITATIVEEASING (IRE) third, THIRD INTENTION (IRE) fourth, BALLYBOKER BRIDGE (IRE) fifth, VALADOM (FR) sixth, SIRE COLLONGES (FR) seventh and DOLATULO (FR) eighth.
12. The Panel directed that any prize money paid out in relation to the above race be returned.
Notes to Editors:
1. The Panel for the enquiry was: William Barlow (Chair), Diana Powles, Roger Bellamy
2. The Disciplinary Panels reasons for their finding from today’s enquiry involving Godolphin’s breach of Rule (A)39 will be published tomorrow. Their finding was to impose a fine of £15,000 on Godolphin.