Co Meath-based trainer David Dunne is set to be appear in front of a Referrals Committee panel before Christmas in relation to reports that one of his horses tested positive for an anabolic steroid after winning at Ballinrobe in August.
According to media reports in September, the Dunne-trained Druim Samhraidh returned a positive test for the steroid, Boldenone, after his success. The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board refused to comment at the time.
However an IHRB spokesman confirmed on Tuesday that a hearing into the matter “is due to be held in the coming weeks”. It is understood that officials at the regulatory body expect that hearing to take place before the Christmas break.
It's believed officials from the IHRB and the Department of Agriculture visited Dunne's yard near Ratoath on the back of the positive urine test returned by Druim Samhraigh. The six year old had won a bumper on August 12th, winning by ten lengths at odds of 4-1 under jockey Jamie Codd.
Dunne will be represented at Wednesday’s all-weather fixture at Dundalk by the course-winning mare Pretty Little Liar who lines up in the second division of a mile and a half handicap. Niall McCullagh’s mount was last successful in a hurdle race at Stratford during the summer.
The first division looks a good opportunity for the Charles O'Brien-trained Power Drive to follow up a course and distance success in September. Coping with a 7lb hike in the ratings doesn't look an insurmountable task for the Declan McDonogh-partnered four year old.
Sceptical has half a length to make up on My Excelsea in the six furlong maiden. But considering Denis Hogan's cheap purchase from Godolphin was making his first ever start, and was slow into stride in that race last month, there should be improvement to come.