Saturday 26 May 2018

Trainer's greyhounds have tested positive for banned substances on eight occasions

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Stock picture

Robin Schiller

The champion greyhound found to have traces of a cocaine metabolite in its system is trained by a handler who has had dogs test positive for banned substances on eight occasions.

Clonbrien Hero, the winner of the €30,000 Irish Independent Irish Laurels, tested positive on two occasions in July for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine. It was the third time in less than a month that banned substances were detected in the animal's system, after samples were found in the dog's urine on June 24.

The greyhound is trained by Tipperary-based Graham Holland. It is understood that minute traces of the cocaine metabolite were found in Clonbrien Hero, but it is not known what, if any, effect this had on the greyhound.

The recent positive testing of Clonbrien Hero is the eighth occasion a dog trained by Mr Holland has tested positive for banned substances since November 14, 2015.

On that date, following an event at Shelbourne Park, four dogs trained by Mr Holland tested positive for pentobarbital. The drug is a sedative and can improve the performance of greyhounds.

During a greyhound control hearing, it was claimed the substance was contained in contaminated meat fed to the animals before racing. The committee found Mr Holland had no case to answer and that there was no "sinister motive on Mr Holland's part and this was a food contamination issue".

On December 22, 2015, the greyhound Highview Event was tested after a race in Tralee and found to have traces of the prohibited substance in its urine.

Mr Holland did not comment when contacted by the Irish Independent. The trainer came to prominence last year when one of Ireland's fastest racing greyhounds, Clares Rocket, was abducted from his Riverside Kennels in Tipperary.

Gang boss Christy Keane (55), a convicted drugs dealer and head of a criminal gang at the centre of a bloody family feud for years, was arrested after being caught with Clares Rocket.

He was later released without charge and claimed that he was asked to retrieve the greyhound.

A statement from the Irish Greyhound Board said: "Adverse analytical findings are reported by IGB to the Control Committee pursuant to the Greyhound Industry (Racing) Regulations, with a request for the Control Committee to investigate the matter as provided for in legislation." The IGB added that it did not comment on individual cases.

Irish Independent

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