Dermot Weld, the trainer of the double Derby winner Harzand, will consider an appeal against a €1,000 fine imposed by the Irish Turf Club's referrals committee after one of his horses failed a post-race drug test.
A post-race sample from Va Pensiero, a filly who was first past the post in a race at Dundalk on May 13th, was found to contain the banned substance 3-hydroxy Lidocaine, a metabolite of Lidocaine, which is often used in racing stables as a local anaesthetic.
Weld, who is a qualified vet, told a hearing of the referrals committee that he was mystified as to how the substance could have been in Va Pensiero’s system. Describing her as “a tough horse who is very sound,” Weld said that she had never received any medication and that he was “completely puzzled” by the positive test.
The committee also heard evidence from Joe O’Donnell, Weld’s vet, that the levels of 3-hydroxy Lidocaine found in Va Pensiero suggested that she had been administered Lidocaine shortly before her race. However, he also confirmed Weld’s evidence that no medications had ever been administered to Va Pensiero.
Andrew Tyrrell, the Turf Club's veterinary officer, told the hearing that he had inspected Weld's medicines register at his stable on The Curragh and found that it was "meticulously kept". He also testified that he had found no evidence of Lidocaine ever being administered to a horse in Weld's yard.
“I’m completely baffled by the whole business and I’m seriously considering appealing the fine,” Weld said after the hearing. “That’s all I have to say on the matter.”
Va Pensiero, a two-length winner of the race, was disqualified and placed last with Power Struggle promoted from second to first. She has not raced since. Guardian Service