Monday 19 February 2018

Champion greyhound that tested positive for cocaine claims €25k St Leger in Limerick

Clonbrien Hero (Photo: Youtube/ Irish Greyhound Board)
Clonbrien Hero (Photo: Youtube/ Irish Greyhound Board)
Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

A greyhound under investigation after traces of cocaine were found in his system on three separate occasions earlier this year completed a classic hat-trick over the weekend by landing the 2017 Kerry AgriBusiness Irish St Leger at Limerick.

The Graham Holland-trained Clonbrien Hero, who is currently the subject of an official investigation by the IGB Control Committee following positive tests taken during the Irish Laurels at Cork, led from start-to-finish to take home the €25,000 top prize on Saturday.

There was a mixed reaction to the victory among the racegoers on the night.

Clonbrien Hero, who also won the Produce Stakes earlier this year, tested positive for Benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, on three occasions in June-July during the running of the Irish Laurels in Cork, which he was victorious in.

The independent Control Committee are continuing to probe the positive tests and the prizemoney for the race has been frozen.

Mr Holland and owner Kay Murphy have vehemently denied administering the drug to the dog.

A statement from the Irish Greyhound Board to Independent.ie today read: "Under the Greyhound Industry (Racing) Regulations 2015, a greyhound that returns an adverse analytical finding is immediately disqualified from further racing or trialling until an additional sample is procured from the greyhound,  and that sample is determined to be free from prohibited substances.

"The IGB can confirm these regulations have been followed fully for all greyhounds since the introduction of amended regulations in October 2015 which provided for the mandatory suspension from racing in such circumstances.

"All adverse analytical findings are referred to the Control Committee for investigation and the conduct of any investigation is a matter solely for the Control Committee. The IGB does not comment on any pending investigations with the independent Control Committee.

"With reference to the 2017 Irish St. Leger at Limerick Stadium, from 60 greyhound entries, 114 samples were taken throughout the six rounds which include out-of-competition testing at private kennels. All six greyhounds in the Irish St. Leger Final on Saturday 4 November 2017 were tested pre-racing and post-racing.

"Prize money won by any greyhound is paid out, subject to no adverse analytical findings arising from the greyhound’s participation in the relevant race.

"IGB have significantly enhanced its anti-doping regime in recent years that include random and targeted testing at race meetings but also unannounced out-of-competition testing. This extends to private kennels, sales meetings and trials as well as testing based on an intelligence-led approach.

"All adverse analytical findings and all decisions of the independent Control Committee are published on our website."

Graham Holland 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.

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