By Jon Lees
Denmark: Leading Scandinavian trainer Marc Stott is fighting to save his career after being hit with a four-year ban.
Stott, older brother of Royal Ascot-winning jockey Kevin Stott, had to cease training with immediate effect and disband his stable over offences involving the use of Duphalyte, a combination of vitamins and electrolytes. While not a banned substance, Duphalyte is not allowed on raceday.
Stott has admitted administering the substance to two horses within the recommended 96-hour withdrawal time by mistake. However, the Scandinavian Doping Committee ruled these were “repeated and systematic” offences and recommended a four-year exclusion which was duly imposed last month by the Danish regulator, Dansk Galop.
Neither of the horses involved, both of whom are no longer in training, tested positive in a case that dates back to 2018.
“I was very stunned and upset when I found out about this,” said Stott, 34. “I didn’t understand why and how they came to this decision.
“I think what they have done is very harsh,” he went on. “I made a mistake but the doping committee reckoned it was something I would do all the time and it wasn’t a mistake, which is not the case.
“I thought I would get a fine. I am going to appeal the case and somehow try to change this. It’s harsh that I have had to pay such a price.”
Stott’s English father Ken Stott rode all over Europe as a jockey before settling in Denmark, where Marc has become one of the most successful trainers in the country from a base in Aarhus. He has won many of the Classics staged in Denmark, Sweden and Norway; he also trained a G3 winner in Germany last year.
Marc Stott believes the case against him was brought using veterinary bills provided by a disgruntled former owner. It was not heard by Dansk Galop but instead put before the Scandinavian Doping Committee, which sits in Sweden.
In a press release the Danish Jockey Club said the committee had found the case proven.
“The offences consist of repeated and systematic violations of the applicable waiting period for treatment with Duphalyte (liquid with vitamins and electrolytes given as drops), where the waiting time is 96 hours,” it said.
In a second statement, the Jockey Club added: “The case concerns partly illegal medication and partly violations of the current waiting period for treatment.
“Furthermore, there are repeated offences. Everyone in the sport regrets this unfortunate case, which we hope will be proof that we in every way must work on having a completely clean sport.”
Stott said: “A lot of people think this is about doping, but it’s not. Duphalyte is vitamins and the systematic part of it is not true. I haven’t had one horse ever test positive for anything since I started training in 2013.
“Apparently they had a bill from the owner that he handed in to the Jockey Club where it says the horses had this, and when they got it,” he added. “Some of it is a mistake and some is not, because it has been used while factoring in the 96 hours.
“That’s why I am going to appeal and hope they understand that that is not the way I work.”
Stott claimed news of the ban had come virtually out of the blue. “Dansk Galop approached me in the middle of the summer and had a chat with me, and then I didn’t hear anymore,” he claimed.
“Then five months later I got a call on a Friday night and they told me I had a suspension. I had nobody to represent me. I was told the verdict and that was it.
“I can only say I am sorry,” Stott added. “They were a couple of juvenile mistakes but the other things aren’t true. It’s very harsh; I’ve never been in any trouble before. The horses have been tested regularly and they’ve never found anything.
“I just hope people will understand my side of things so it won’t have any effect on my future career because I love what I’m doing. Horses are my life and I am good at it.”
Dansk Galop chairman Nick Elsass said: “The Danish Jockey Club CEO has come up with this verdict and now Marc is appealing. Within two weeks he has to tell the Jockey Club whether he wants to appeal and he has confirmed he is going to.
“Then he has another 30 days to explain why he is appealing, for what reasons and what it is he is contesting. Then the appeal court will be set. Marc can have legal representation and call witnesses. We have advised Marc to bring someone who can present his case.
“It is a very professionally done procedure. There will be at least four people in the appeal court, one of which will be someone with formal legal training.”
Elsass added: “We are very sad about this story because Marc has now been punished and Marc is a very gifted horseman. You don’t train horses like he has trained to win Derbys and other big races in Scandinavia if you’re not. Therefore it’s double harsh that we will lose him at least for a number of years because of this.”
• Visit the Danish Jockey Club website