Irish racing’s regulator has pointed to a series of adjournments for a 15-month timeframe in completing a process which led to trainer Kieran Cotter getting fines totalling €27,500 earlier this week.
Cotter, who is based near Portarlington, Co Laois, was found guilty of “serious misconduct” by a Referrals panel chaired by Justice Raymond Groarke.
As well as the massive fines, Cotter was also ordered to pay costs of €7,500.
He was penalised on the back of a stable inspection of his premises in February of last year following a positive test for the prohibited substance cobalt from a winner he saddled in Dundalk a month before.
On Friday Cotter lodged an appeal to the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board against the severity of the penalties.
Details of the inspection at Cotter’s yard emerged at the Referrals hearing including how a Department of Agriculture Food & Marine veterinary inspector examined the site of a “recent bonfire.”
In evidence, the inspector said he found burnt bottles of animal remedies and other bottles on the bonfire site as well as a number of used syringes and needles with residues including blood traces.
Cotter was fined €20,000 for failure to maintain his medicines register and €7,500 for breaches of rules relating to the positive cobalt sample found in the Dundalk winner Slade Runner. The horsed was disqualified.
It emerged at the hearing that all blood and hair samples taken from horses at the yard during the inspection revealed no results of concern.
The IHRB said on Friday it is impossible to tell yet when Cotter’s appeal will be heard. It also said the lengthy period involved in prosecuting the case was unavoidable.
“It was originally set for late last year but there was a series of adjournments sought from both sides for various reasons,” a spokesman said.
The length of time taken in the regulatory process has been regularly criticised in recent years.
It is understood some of those adjournments were required for health reasons linked to a number of people involved in the case.
In other regulatory news, no date has been set for an appeal by Co Kildare based trainer Paddy Hayes against a 15-month suspension of his licence.
Hayes was given the suspension last week under disrepute rules after a circuit court ruling found him guilty of animal neglect.
The trainer was given a suspended three month sentence and ordered to pay €5,000 to an animal charity after a thoroughbred in his care was in an “emaciated state” in 2020.
Hayes’s suspension was due to start on June 1st but that is stayed until his appeal is heard.
The Hayes trained Shahaada is due to run in Sunday’s Group 2 Lanwades Stud Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.