By Jon Lees
GB: The British Horseracing Authority has taken the unprecedented step of disqualifying a horse from a Group-race victory recorded more than two years ago over a failed dope test – even before a disciplinary inquiry has been conducted into the case.
In the first ruling of its kind, the judicial panel ordered the disqualification of Euginio from the G3 Darley Stakes, run at Newmarket in October 2018, and the redistribution of the prize-money.
Then a four-year-old, Euginio was trained by Richard Hannon for Saleh Al Homeizi and Amad Al Sagar when he beat Forest Ranger by a neck under Hayley Turner. The horse subsequently tested positive for o-desmethyltramadol, a metabolite of the painkiller tramadol and a prohibited substance that must not be present in a horse’s system on raceday.
The decision to disqualify the horse was reached at a directions hearing, which usually deals with case management matters and is not normally made public.
However, because of the time elapsed and complexity of the case, the hearing, under the panel chair HH Brian Barker QC, considered the “early” disqualification of Euginio.
A statement from the judicial panel said: “Given retrospective disqualification has an effect not only on the connections of other horses in the race, but also a number of wider administrative processes and publications, on this occasion the details of the Chairman’s Order relating to the horse’s early disqualification has been published.
“Euginio was disqualified from the 2018 Darley Stakes under Rule (A)74.2 of the pre-September 2019 Rules of Racing, which dictates than any horse that tests positive for a prohibited substance must be disqualified, and prize money will be distributed in line with this.
“The early disqualification of the horse was agreed by all parties and is without prejudice to any position adopted by either side regarding the ongoing matter.”
Euginio won five races for Hannon and recorded his biggest win in the Darley Stakes. Three weeks later he was sold at the Horses-In-Training Sale where he fetched 400,000gns, subsequently joining trainer Bahrain trainer Fawzi Nass.
In previous similar prohibited substance cases disqualifications are not ordered until the outcome of a disciplinary inquiry, which are often held a long time after the race. A full disciplinary inquiry into the Euginio case has yet to be scheduled.