Gosden: Contamination From Employee Caused Drug Positive

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John Gosden | Horsephotos

Trainer John Gosden has said that it was contamination “through an employee” that led to the ketamine positive returned by Juddmonte filly Franconia (GB) (Frankel {GB}) after her win in last June's Listed Abingdon Fillies' S. at Newbury. Gosden told a British Horseracing Authority disciplinary panel on Thursday that Franconia had been handled at the races that day by a stable worker who subsequently admitted to using ketamine recreationally. Franconia was disqualified from the win and Gosden was fined £500.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today Programme on Friday morning, Gosden explained that the employee came forward when he realised he could have been responsible for the contamination.

“He was a rather vulnerable person who came to me–his life had somewhat imploded, and he'd been thrown out of a job as a very young chap,” the trainer said. “He came in, was working with us, and during the lockdown he probably got in the habit of messing around with this ketamine, which is obviously used as a drug that sends you into a trance state or something. Consequently, when he took this filly racing–although he cleaned himself properly, showered and his clothes were clean–he used to keep the stuff in his wallet in a little packet. There was none in there, but there was residual in there. Obviously, that little deposit in the wallet–he'd used his credit card, then he puts the bridle on the filly–can get very quickly into the system, from the [horse's] tongue and gums. This tiny trace, which is microscopic–like half-a-trillionth of a gram, measured in picograms with very sensitive equipment–was picked up in her urine. It didn't affect her performance, because obviously if you used a lot of ketamine it would send the horse into a trance state, and you can imagine what kind of terrible thing could happen. Ketamine is for anaesthetics in clinics. It's never in a racing stable, only in clinics.”

Gosden said the groom remains in his employ.

“He said it was his fault, and he explained the whole situation,” Gosden said. “He actually broke down in tears, as one would–not an easy thing to tell your employer. Because he was so honest, it solved the whole problem as to where this came from, because it was a complete mystery to us. He's still employed here, and to that extent he's getting on with life. His life hadn't been going too well before that, and it was difficult for him. But we're doing fine now.”

Franconia, meanwhile, remains a listed winner, having taken the Listed Lyric Fillies' S. in her next start.

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