The case of leading trainer Philip Fenton for alleged possession of steroids is due to be heard in court today. The 49-year-old is facing eight charges over treatments and medicines found by state inspectors at his Co Tipperary yard in January 2012.
At a hearing last month, Fenton’s legal team were given four weeks to file submissions on issues they claim to have found on summonses detailing the prosecution.
The case is listed for mention at Carrick-on-Suir District Court this morning, where the submissions are expected to be discussed. Judge Terence Finn, who heard the case when it was before the court last month, said they would be examined to see whether they affect the district court's jurisdiction ahead of any trial.
The case against Fenton was brought about by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine following an inspection of his yard on January 18th, 2012. The trainer faces eight charges in relation to alleged possession of Nitrotain and Ilium Stanabolic and prescription medicines including Engemycin 10%, Neomycin Penicillin, Marbocyl 10%.
If a trial goes ahead on the charges, the court has been told that 12 to 15 witnesses are expected to be called, including one from France.
No plea has been entered.
Spring Heeled, who helped give trainer Jim Culloty a Cheltenham to remember, is among 70 entries for the Crabbie's Topham Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree on April 4th.
The seven-year-old landed the Kim Muir Challenge Cup last Thursday ahead of th0000e Co Cork trainer's triumph with Lord Windermere in the Betfred Gold Cup.
Culloty said at the homecoming parade at his stables on Sunday that Spring Heeled would definitely be seen again this season and would run where suitable ground conditions prevail.
Others among a 15-strong entry from this country are Savello, winner of the Grand Annual Chase at last week's festival for Tony Martin, Bishopsfurze, Loosen My Load and Vesper Bell.
Last year’s 100/1 stunner Tartan Snow for Borders trainer Stuart Coltherd is one of 31 entries for the Crabbie’s Fox Hunters’ Chase on April 3rd.
Among six Irish possibles are two from the Enda Bolger stable, On The Fringe, third in last week’s CGA Foxhunter Chase and Mossey Joe, who was bought by Barry Connell after taking his winning run to five last term with victory in the Champion Hunter Chase at Stratford in June.
Shipyard, ante-post favourite for the www.thetote.com Irish Lincolnshire at the Curragh on Sunday, could sidestep the race if the ground is very soft. Andy Oliver's lightly-raced five-year-old also has the option of running in six-furlong handicap on the same card.
To the limit
Oliver is worried that his stamina will be stretched to the limit if the ground rides testing, but still hopes the weather enables him to run in the first big handicap of the Irish Flat season. "He's a horse with limited experience," said the Co Tyrone handler. "He handled soft last year but I think he's more a speed horse and soft ground will limit his stamina. Last season he was second over a mile in soft ground so he does actually handle it but he'd more more effective on better ground. I'd still say it's more than likely that he'll run."
Trainer Johnny Murtagh is hoping to get the new sason off to a flier when he saddles three runners – We’ll Go Walking, Purr Along and Calorie – on a card which marks his contribution to the sport.
The Johnny Murtagh Lifetime Achievement In Racing Madrid Handicap is recognition of his career so far. He retired only last month as a jockey to concentrate on training after being at the top of his profession for more than 20 years.
He could even have a runner in that race, Calorie, though she also has an entry in the Elusive Pimpernel Maiden at the same fixture. All three horses pleased Murtagh in their final pieces of work on Wednesday morning.
“They all worked very well and We’ll Go Walking will take her chance in the Irish Lincolnshire,” said Murtagh.