Saturday 19 August 2017

Grant thanks Turf Club and refuses to give up

Danny Grant doing the job he loves. Photo: Alain Barr
Danny Grant doing the job he loves. Photo: Alain Barr

Johnny Ward

Danny Grant has vowed not to throw away his riding career despite a three-year ban imposed by the Turf Club on Monday.

Both Grant, a veteran Flat rider, and young jumps jockey Kevin Sexton tested positive for cocaine when they gave samples at the Galway festival earlier this year. Grant's ban relates to a skin condition that has blighted him all of his life.

The skin condition on Grants back.
The skin condition on Grants back.
The effect a skin condition has on Grants leg.

It was found that the source of his failed drugs test was a herbal tea product called Mate De Coca, which the jockey had bought online.

He had purchased teabags to help limit his skin condition but when these were sent to the Turf Club for testing they indicated the presence of cocaine.

Grant, 38, has been based in the Co Waterford barn of Pat Flynn since he was 16.

The rider, who tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine, was suspended in 2010 and 2014 for the same offence. However, he could resume riding in early 2018 due to some allowances made by the Turf Club.

Grant said: "The news is not that bad and the Turf Club was very good, lenient and understanding.

" I'm assisting Pat Flynn with the training and still go racing to represent him. I will also concentrate on getting the best treatment for me.

"The most important thing is my family. I've never been so happy as in the last few months to be close with my family."

The Turf Club's senior medical officer Adrian McGoldrick gave evidence at Monday's hearing and has sympathy for Grant's predicament.

He said: "Danny has an extreme form of eczema which entails a persistent itch; he used a symptom relief which he was warned not to use again.

"He should have contacted me again before ever using that and in any event it is proscribed. Unfortunately, he was unable to use more potent treatments due to side-effects."

Grant explained that he is hoping to start a family and this complicated what treatment he could use.

"I've suffered since birth and tried everything possible to get my skin right. I've missed so many winners and mounts due to my condition over the years.

"I'm allergic to so much in the environment and I probably shouldn't be working with horses but it's all I've ever known.

"I was offered a drug called methotrexate which I refused due to many side-effects such as liver damage. Also we were planning a family; it can cause sperm defects and damage the newborn.

"The tea helps me have some relief and I sleep better. I have sleepless nights because of the itching."

The Turf Club has confirmed that Grant could yet have the final 18 months of his three-year-ban suspended.

CEO Denis Egan said: "It is possible if he convinces the Referrals Committee that his skin has improved."

Bleeding

Also at Monday's hearing, trainer Shark Hanlon was fined €1,500 and Diamond Dame disqualified from her Listowel win after testing positive for Lasix, a drug that is legal in the US and used to prevent internal bleeding.

Meanwhile, Andrew Lynch, out since late August with a broken bone in his arm, admitted his own spell sidelined "is getting frustrating" after visiting his surgeon yesterday.

"I must go back to him in two more weeks' time," said Lynch, who had been aiming at a return last weekend.

The Injured Jockeys Fund issued a statement yesterday on Freddy Tylicki, who suffered paralysis from the waist down in a fall at Kempton last week.

It said his "condition remains unchanged in intensive care" and that "the support from the racing and wider community has been overwhelming.

"Freddy's mother and sister, Irene and Madeleine, have decided to set up a charitable trust which will open with the funds from the Go Fund Me page that Matt Chapman was so proactive in setting up."

As of last night, £258,000 had been raised in the fund set up by the At The Races presenter.

Un De Sceaux may reappear in thetote.com Fortria Chase at Navan on Sunday, while Identity Thief and Altior could clash in Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial at Cheltenham.

Harzand, this year's dual Derby winner which was retired to stud, will stand for a relatively modest €15,000, it has been announced.

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