Coolmore vet loses ‘winner’ to domestic dog drug use – Irish Times

Trainer John Harley, a well-known thoroughbred figure and veterinarian for Coolmore Stud and Ballydoyle, lost a “winner” in a bizarre long-term drug case involving the domestic dog.

The Irish Horse Racing Regulatory Board (IHRB) revealed on Friday that Harley-trained Iberia was disqualified after testing positive for a banned substance at a hurdle race at Gowran in March last year.

The horse has previously raced for O’Brien, including testing positive for gabapentin while not racing in the 2020 Irish Derby.

It is a human drug promoted in horses as a pain reliever for chronic neuropathic pain, including laminitis. The jurisdiction has not previously reported the matter under a prohibited substance clause.

Earlier this week, an IHRB referral team confirmed Iberia’s disqualification but waived Halley’s €1,000 fine due to the “unusual circumstances” of the case. However, he did have to pay the IHRB a fee of 800 euros.

When contacted by the IHRB’s anti-doping chief, Dr. Lynn Hillyer, on Friday, Halley said he was not using gabapentin as a veterinarian.

He did, however, provide a letter from another veterinarian who treated the Harley’s dog after it suddenly developed severe pain and prescribed gabapentin for a while the day after the Iberia race.

Halley told the IHRB panel that the dog was allowed free reins in the stable at Co Tipperary and was being cleaned by staff, suggesting that cross-contamination of the animal’s urine was the cause of the positive test.

Since his practice only involved horses, he said his wife took the dog to another vet. He said the case was “very embarrassing to him, both personally and professionally”.

To better understand the situation, canine urine samples were collected from dogs taking the drug and an “extensive laboratory investigation” was carried out at the LGC laboratory in England, Hillyer told the panel.

The analysis established “sufficient scientific evidence for the IHRB to accept Mr Halley’s interpretation of the post-match results”.

The panel, chaired by Justice Tony Hunter, said the expert advice found Halley’s explanation reasonable.

It concluded that the drug was “unwittingly administered” to the horses after “excretion from the dogs in the stable”. It also said that while trainers must take reasonable precautions with horses entering licensed stables, that obligation does not extend to other types of animals.

In other news, the 2022 Royal Races concluded on Saturday with Ado McGuinness’ star sprinter A Case Of You tackling an international field in the featured first set of Platinum Jubilee Championships.

The massive 27-man team also includes players from Australia, the US and Japan.

His stablemate Home Affairs, of the Coolmore colorway, was the “buzz” of the six-franc heat on Tuesday at the back of the Nature Strip’s King’s Stand romp.

His narrow victory over the Nature Strip at Flemington in February was enough for many, although A Case Of You can boast a pair of successes in the first group.

Campanelle has been racing for a year in the butler’s room, but if there’s one European who breaks the Australian sprint bandwagon, it could be the alcohol-free return to speed racing.

Top National Hunting Coach Henry de Bromhead could join the Star Girls Aalmal for maiden Royal Turf success at the Jersey Championship. Based on her excellent effort from Irish Guinea last time, she should enjoy going back down to seven furlongs.

Aidan O’Brien has four Ascot runners, including Broome who takes on Hurricane Lane at Hardwicke.

His main entry, though, is Snowfall’s brother Alfred Munnings, who is already a favorite for next year’s Classic and has a second career start at Chesham.

O’Brien’s first set of focus will shift to Paris on Sunday, with Toys trying to get him back-to-back victories at the French Oaks.

A total of 18 ponies will compete in the €1 million Diana Grand Prix at 3pm Irish time.

The infamous Chantilly draw has not been kind to the Irish hopeful, who has been disappointed by a previous start in French Guinea and will start from an unfavorable 16th pot.

Toy did have the pedigree to win when her full sister Joan of Arc scored in the Diane race last year. Donnacha O’Brien’s Fancy Blue leads Ireland 1-2-3 in 2020.

Leading British driver Hollie Doyle, a favourite for the landmark classic at Gosden-trained Nashwa, was third at Epsom Oaks last week to Tuesday.

She is hoping for a second gear next to Tequila at home in the lead, and Tequila will try to finalize veteran jockey Oliver Paislier’s French classic collection.

The Boylespsorts Ulster Derby event on Saturday is Ireland’s only weekend domestic event.

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