Gordon Elliott fined £1,000 after ‘mystery’ positive test at Cheltenham

<span>Photograph: PA Wire/PA</span>
Photograph: PA Wire/PA

The leading Irish trainer Gordon Elliott has been fined £1,000 by the British Horseracing Board’s independent disciplinary panel and his hurdler Zanahiyr has been disqualified from last year’s Champion Hurdle, after Elliott admitted ultimate responsibility for a “mystery” positive test for lidocaine, a fast-acting anaesthetic, returned by the gelding after his third-place finish in the Grade One race last March.

Wednesday’s hearing into the case was told that an extensive BHA investigation included an unannounced inspection of Elliott’s yard by a team from the Irish Horseracing Integrity Board, when Elliott was attending the Grand National meeting at Aintree in April 2022.

The medical and treatment records of 27 members of Elliott’s staff who travelled to the Cheltenham Festival last year were also examined, as lidocaine occurs in a number of non-prescription treatments for humans, but while his travelling head lass was using an mouth-ulcer treatment at the time, it did not contain the drug.

Elliott admitted a breach of the authority’s anti-doping regulations at the outset of the hearing, under the “strict liability” rules that apply to positives for banned substances. However, his penalty was set below the entry point for a lidocaine positive after the panel decided that the breach fell into the “low” category of culpability on the trainer’s behalf.

1.05 Glory Bridge 1.40 Ring Of Beara 2.15 Elleon 2.50 Imperial Storm 3.25 Hullnback 4.00 Heroique De Maulde 4.33 Nora The Xplorer (nb)

1.15 Shirocco’s Dream 1.50 Artistic Choice 2.25 Pawpaw 3.00 Rare Edition 3.35 The Wise Traveller 4.10 Gipsy De Choisel 4.45 Whisperonthewind

Ffos Las
1.23 Shomen Uchi 1.58 Jukebox D’Eddy 2.33 Heltenham 3.08 Haut Folin 3.43 Militaire 4.18 Royale Dance 4.53 Acey Milan

4.40 Freak Out  5.10 Mrs Dibble 5.40 Great State 6.10 Razoni 6.40 Golden Rainbow (nap) 7.10 Bin Hayyan 7.40 Abbey’s Dream

Charlotte Davison, presenting the BHA’s case, earlier told the hearing that while it was what has been termed in the past a “mystery” case” of contamination, Elliott had conceded to an investigator that procedures at his yard to prevent cross-contamination from human medication, for instance as a result of staff urinating in horse boxes, might need to be improved.

Asked if he trained staff in relation to anti-doping rules, Davison said that Elliott replied: “Obviously we talk to everyone on a regular basis about urinating in stables and that sort of stuff. I suppose it’s something we are going to have to look into with our HR person going into next season.”

“Balancing the mitigating and aggravating features, the panel takes the view that a fine of £1,000 is appropriate,” David Fish, the panel’s chair, said as he announced the penalty. “The horse, I’m afraid, must be disqualified. The placings will be amended and the prize money [of £47,745] must be returned.”