"Greyhound of the Year" nomination for dog who tested positive for cocaine
15 March 2018
A greyhound who tested positive for cocaine three times last July is in the running for an Irish Greyhound Board "Dog of the Year" award. Clonbrien Hero - who tested positive for the Class A drug after winning the €30,000 Irish Independent Laurels race at Cork's Curraheen Park - is one of three dogs nominated for the award.
The winner is to be announced at a ceremony on 29th April at Killashee Hotel in Naas. The nominees were chosen by a panel of ten representatives of greyhound racing and hare coursing, which included Irish Coursing Club CEO DJ Histon. Other award categories are Brood Bitch of the Year and Supreme Greyhound of the Year.
As previously reported by ICABS, Clare Daly TD last month questioned Agriculture Minister Michael Creed about the outcome of a Clonbrien Hero-related investigation. Her question followed a statement on the Irish Greyhound Board website declaring that Clonbrien Hero had a "sensational season in 2017".
In his reply to Deputy Daly's Dail Question, Minister Creed - who presented the winning trophy to the owner of Clonbrien Hero after the Laurels race - appeared to distance himself from the issue, saying "Bord na gCon is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The question raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for Bord na gCon."
In a follow-up reply from the Irish Greyhound Board, Deputy Daly was told that "Following the identification of an adverse analytical finding (AAF) in respect of the winner of the Irish Laurels Race 2017, the AAF, in accordance with statutory regulations, was referred to the independent Control Committee for investigation. Subsequently, a High Court injunction and High Court Judicial Review proceedings were taken against the Control Committee to prevent a hearing by the Control Committee. An injunction was granted by the High Court pending a full determination of the Judicial Review application. This application was initially considered by the High Court on 6th February and has been put back for further consideration on 20th March 2018."
"Prize money in respect of the winner of the Irish Laurels Race 2017 remains withheld pending a determination by the independent Control Committee," the IGB added.
Clonbrien Hero - trained by Tipperary-based Graham Holland - went on to win the €25,000 "Kerry AgriBusiness Irish St Leger" in November at Limerick track (the headquarters of the Irish Greyhound Board). The Irish Independent reported at the time that "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. There was a mixed reaction to the victory among the racegoers on the night."
The Independent previously reported that "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."
Last June, another Graham Holland-trained greyhound, Garryvoe Bobby, was "disqualified from any further participation in the 2017 Star Sports Greyhound Derby following its disqualification under Greyhound Board of Great Britain rule 173(ii) following the positive analysis of a pre-race urine sample taken from this greyhound on 10th June at Towcester racecourse. The greyhound tested positive for a prohibited substance."
Details about the outcome of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain enquiry were recently published on the Greyhound Star website - "Graham Holland, International Trainer, GARRYVOE BOBBY, Towcester, 10.6.17, Butylhyoscine, 152 (i), 174 (i) (a), 217, £600 Caution".
Meanwhile, Clonbrien Hero continues to be entered into races. Less than four weeks after testing positive for cocaine at Curraheen Park, he won his next race at Shelbourne Park. He went on to win 6 out of the next 8 races he ran in at Shelbourne Park and Limerick stadium.
According to a report on the IGB website in February, Clonbrien Hero "has clearly retained his form after breaking the official sprint track record in a trial at Limerick on Saturday".
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