Turf Club to review court evidence in Adrian McGuinness case

Dublin trainer was fined €2,500 for possession of animal remedies without authorisation

The Turf Club’s Appeals & Referrals Committee will be asked to consider as soon as possible if Dublin trainer Adrian McGuinness has breached any rules of racing following his €2,500 fine for possession of animal remedies without authorisation on Monday.

Racing’s regulatory body will assess the evidence from the case which was heard in Swords District Court before passing it on to the Referrals Committee who will decide what action, if any, will be taken.

The case was brought by the Department of Agriculture after an inspection of his premises in Lusk in 2014. McGuinness was fined for possessing four animal remedies without authorisation and two remedies with a veterinary surgeon’s prescription.

“First of all we would have to review the evidence of the case from the court. That is normal procedure,” explained Josh Byrne, the Irish National Hunt registrar.

“More than likely we would expect to refer the matter on to our referrals committee. That too is normal practice. We cannot say anything more at this moment in time or comment on what might happen until we have reviewed the evidence,” he added.

In other news, Willie Mullins’s Stan James Champion Hurdle hand has been dealt a further blow with confirmation that last year’s runner up Arctic Fire has joined the title-holder Faugheen on the injury sidelines.


“It looks like he has a little chip off a sesamoid bone which will need to be removed,” Mullins reported. Arctic Fire’s absence saw another of his stable companions, Annie Power, harden to 7/4 favouritism for the Champion Hurdle for which she will have to supplemented.

The 2012 and 2013 Cheltenham Foxhunters champion Salsify has been ruled out of another attempt on the race by Cork trainer Rodger Sweeney after deciding he wouldn't rush his stable star to get qualified.

Veteran Salsify, who won at Fairyhouse last Saturday, would have to run again in a point to point this weekend, and win, in order to meet the criteria so Sweeney has decided to skip the festival.

“Rules are rules and there’s no way out. We’d have to run him next Saturday or Sunday and then nine days later he’d have to be loaded on the boat to England. It’s just too near. I’d be an idiot if I got him beat. And he’d have to win this weekend anyway,” Sweeney said.

"He was third at Leopardstown [Irish Gold Cup meeting] and if he'd been one spot closer he would have qualified for Cheltenham. We'd love to go back there and do it again. He's won the Foxhunters there twice and to win three times would be a dream come true. He's in good shape now and has come out of his last race well.

“We’ll probably train him for Aintree [Foxhunters]. He’s qualified for there. He’ll run first at Gowran on March 5th. He’s never been to Aintree. He’s a very good jumper, but you never know if they will take to the place until you have a go,” he added.

Castello Sforza is at the other end of the career spectrum to Salsify and the Willie Mullins-trained horse could yet line up in Cheltenham’s Champion Bumper after being bought by JP McManus.

Castello Sforza won his only start to date at Fairyhouse last April when racing in the colours of Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s Pearl Bloodstock. The Milan gelding subsequently went through the ring at Goffs unsold at €310,000 but has since been bought privately.

McManus's racing manager Frank Berry said: "He has had a few niggly little problems since he was bought, but Willie is back happy with him again now, so we'll see where we go. He'll be working at the weekend and we'll take it from there. We've not made any decision on where he goes at this stage."

Castello Sforza is as low as 12/1 in some antepost lists for the Bumper which Mullins has famously won on eight occasions, the last of which was in 2013 with Briar Hill.

A more definite McManus Cheltenham contender is the Charles Byrnes-trained Leave At Dawn who is currently one of the favourites for the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle.

Leave At Dawn won at Cheltenham’s November meeting and Byrnes reported: “He is on course for Cheltenham, but it depends on what the owner decides. He has experience there, but the form of his win there hasn’t worked out at all. Good ground will be a help for him.”