Cotter Fined €27,500 For Cobalt Positive, Misconduct

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A fine was leveled against Irish trainer Kieran Cotter for a cobalt positive and findings of misconduct | Sarah Andrew

Trainer Kieran Cotter was fined €27,500 by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board Referrals Committee and must pay a further €7,500 in legal costs. One of his runners, Slade Runner (Ire) (Slade Power {Ire}), tested positive for cobalt and the IHRB found further misconduct by the trainer following a yard inspection.

Slade Runner won a Dundalk handicap in January and returned a cobalt reading higher than the international threshold. After the cobalt positive, there was a joint inspection of Cotter's yard by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) and officers of the IHRB on Feb. 3. Cotter was found to be in breach of Rule 96(a), that disqualified the winner, Slade Runner, and that both the stake and prize-money were forfeited. The IHRB Committee fined Cotter €2,500 for this rule breach.

A number of charges were also brought against Cotter after the yard inspection, with the trainer in breach of a number of provisions under Rule 148:

  • No medicines register was maintained by the trainer prior to February of 2021 for any of his horses.
  • Used syringes and needles were left lying in a number of locations in the premises, with Cotter stating he had no knowledge of their presence and had not used them.
  • The presence also of a large number of unused syringes and needles in the barn.
  • The apparent general use of veterinary medicines, other than under veterinary supervision which suggested that Cotter was self-medicating some of the horses in his care.
  • The apparent administration via intravenous injection of medicines without veterinary oversight, contrary to proper procedures.
  • Reckless disregard to the potential effects or consequences to administering the cobalt drench to Slade Runner in particular.

Although the IHRB Referrals Committee did not find Cotter in breach of the rules for possession of illegal substances in his yard or in breach of Rule 273(xiii), they noted that his conduct was that of a serious nature. They imposed a €5,000 fine in respect of a breach of Rule 148(I), in reference that the trainer is responsible for everything connected with the welfare, training and running of all horses under the care of that trainer and that Slade Runner was administered cobalt the day before the race. A €20,000 fine was leveled against Cotter in respect to a breach of Rule 148(iii) in that he had failed to maintain his medicines register, failed to ensure that he and each of his staff having access to medicines were fully conversant with the rules and regulations relating to prohibited substances and that he had failed to be responsible for the safe keeping and administration of medicines having failed to securely lock the medicine cabinet.

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