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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Cheltenham staff told trainer 'it's beans on toast for you, mate'

Beans on toast
1 of 1

Security staff at the Cheltenham Festival overstepped the mark when they found syringes and sachets of the prohibited substance bute being brought into the stables, a BHA discplinary panel has concluded.

Point-to-point trainer Joe O'Shea, who was due to run Cottage Oak in the Foxhunter, was told "from now on it's beans on toast for you, mate" after a search turned up the items in his medical bag.

The disciplinary panel accepted that O'Shea knew the rules and had meant to leave the bag in the horsebox, but that his Chinese fiancee, who has limited English, had brought it into the course to be helpful.

O'Shea, based near Manchester, was fined a below-entry-level £750, partly because of the hostility from one of the security staff involved.

The panel said: "While it's readily understood that the discovery of a substance like bute and syringes would make security staff very concerned about what was going on, it seems one of them at least overstepped the mark."

It warned: "Security investigators should in principle refrain from passing their own judgements."

Tests of Cottage Oak, who was pulled up in the race, were negative.

Duncan hit with £2,500 penalty over passport

Amid a raft of inquiry results published on Friday, the wife of trainer Ian Duncan escaped a disqualification despite altering the date on a racehorse passport.

Jennifer Duncan, also a stable employee, inserted a '1' to change the date the mare Golden Sparkle was vaccinated from May 2 to May 12, 2014, but did not tell her husband until the BHA launched an investigation last year.

Ian Duncan: trainer of Finaghy Ayr
She said she wanted to avoid an argument with her husband because when the horse was next vaccinated on May 11, 2015, it was past the year permitted under booster vaccination requirements.

The BHA recommended a financial penalty be imposed for seeking to mislead investigators, but the disciplinary panel had "real misgivings" because it was felt "a forgery of this kind should attract disqualification/exclusion/suspension, whichever might be appropriate".

Ultimately, Duncan was fined £2,500 because the deception was picked up before it could have any lasting effect, and because of the practical difficulties of operating a disqualification given that she lives at the yard with her husband.

Brown fined over prohibited substance

Trainer David Brown, meanwhile, was fined £500 after an extensive investigation into how one of his horses tested positive for a potential "stopping" drug ended with no explanation being uncovered.

A sample from the filly Sky Gypsy contained the prohibited substance atenolol, a beta-blocker licensed for humans, after she won a maiden at Pontefract last August

Brown admitted he was "in part" in breach as the responsible person under strict liability rules.

The BHA carried out a detailed investigation to identify the source and although a number of Brown's staff were on medication none of it contained atenolol.

Brown presented other possible explanations, including that the drug might have been in drinking water or had slipped into a water bucket in the winner's enclosure deliberately or inadvertently.

None were accepted by the panel, nor any link between Sky Gypsy's positive and the drug test failure of the George Scott-trained Imperial State, who had tested positive for the same substance two weeks earlier.

The disciplinary panel said the smaller-than-recommended fine reflected the "considerable effort" Brown made to investigate the source. Sky Gypsy was disqualified. 

Security investigators should in principle refrain from passing their own judgements
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