Leading trainer charged with possession of anabolic steroids
Philip Fenton to appear before Tipperary court over banned animal medications
Philip Fenton: won the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown nine days ago with Last Instalment. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Philip Fenton, trainer of the leading Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Last Instalment, is due to appear in Carrick-On-Suir District Court on Thursday charged with possession of unlicensed animal medications, including anabolic steroids.
Mr Fenton, who trains for some of Ireland’s most prominent racehorse owners, previously appeared in court in relation to the case on January 16th and December 19th last.
The case is being taken by the Department of Agriculture, which inspected Mr Fenton’s premises at South Lodge near Carrick-on-Suir in January 2012 and discovered a number of unlicensed medicines. They included the anabolic steroids Nitrotain and Ilium Stanabolic. All anabolic steroids are banned under the rules of racing.
The Department of Agriculture said yesterday a summary conviction in relation to offences regarding possession of animal remedies can lead to a fine not exceeding €5,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both.
Irish racing’s regulatory body, the Turf Club, is closely examining the case but said it is awaiting details of the medicines involved.
Turf Club chief executive Denis Egan said: “Depending on what is outlined, we would certainly look to talk to anyone found guilty of possessing these substances, and it would be referred to our referrals committee. But there could be no immediate action. We would have to undertake our own investigation.”
However, the implications of a conviction are potentially a major blow to Irish racing.
Mr Fenton is one of the most high-profile trainers in Ireland, winning the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown just nine days ago with Last Instalment, a horse owned by the Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown Stud.
Last Instalment is as low as 6/1 third favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The horse was out of action through injury for almost two years before running third in a comeback race at Thurles last month. On his next start, 24 days later, he won the €160,000 Hennessy, one of Ireland’s most prestigious races.