Sport Horse Racing

Friday 13 December 2019

Morphine controversy set to take more twists and turns

Ryan Moore celebrates Estimate’s Ascot Gold Cup success last year
Ryan Moore celebrates Estimate’s Ascot Gold Cup success last year
Ryan Moore riding Estimate

Thomas Kelly

The morphine controversy which has rocked English Flat racing is showing no signs of relenting after two more trainers confirmed their horses had tested positive.

Eve Johnson Houghton has revealed one of her horses has tested positive for morphine, but says that she does not use the feed suspected of being the source of the contamination.

Gay Kelleway has also reported that Russian Realm and Royal Alcor had failed post-race tests after appearing at Royal Ascot and Yarmouth respectively.

According to Johnson Houghton, her three-year-old Charlie Wells failed a drugs test after winning the Classified Stakes at Chepstow on June 23, after which he has been placed in two other races.

She is mystified as to where the contaminated food came from and has had all of her string tested as a precaution. "I had all my horses tested, but they haven't come up with the results yet," said Johnson Houghton.

"I don't know which bit of feed it's in, but, hopefully, we'll get to the bottom of it and, hopefully, it's a one-off."

Johnson Houghton admitted to using some products provided by animal feed manufacturer Dodson & Horrell.

The company announced it was holding a full investigation into how possible component contamination could have occurred after Estimate, owned by The Queen, also tested positive for morphine.

Initial indications are that the positive test taken from the 2013 Ascot Gold Cup winner resulted from the consumption of a contaminated feed product, Buckingham Palace said in statement on Tuesday night.

Dodson & Horrell, horse and dog food manufacturer to The Queen since 2006, identified Alfalfa Oil Plus as the possible product which had been contaminated, but that it may not have happened on its premises.

The company said it has launched a "thorough investigation" with an unnamed supplier of the product.

Estimate, trained by Michael Stoute, produced one of the headline stories of last season with a nail-biting triumph in the Gold Cup at the Royal meeting. She then went down narrowly to Aidan O'Brien's Leading Light in the defence of her crown last month.

The five-year-old mare is reportedly still in contention for the Goodwood Cup next Thursday and worked on Wednesday morning over nine furlongs alongside stablemates Snow Sky and Top Tug.

The British Horseracing Authority announced last week that five horses under the care of various trainers have been reported to show the presence of morphine in their 'A' samples.

At home, Dessie Hughes has indicated that both ante-post favourite Art Of Logistics and Irish National runner-up Golden Wonder will represent his yard in next week's Galway Plate.

Hughes has had the valuable handicap as the aim for both of them for some time and while Golden Wonder has not run since his brave effort at Fairyhouse, Art Of Logistics won at Punchestown last month.

"Both of them are well," the Curragh trainer said. "I'm not sure about the trip for Art Of Logistics, but Golden Wonder will definitely get it. They could both do with some rain, but they do a good job of watering."

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