Positive Drugs Tests: Trainer Luke Comer Banned For Three Years 

Luke Comer: the owner-trainer has been ordered to pay costs of €750,000 by the IHRB | Racingfotos.com

Trainer Luke Comer has had his licence suspended for three years over positive drugs tests and ordered to pay over €750,000 in costs by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB).

The billionaire owner-trainer, who is also a major sponsor of Irish racing under the Comer Group banner, has seven days to lodge an appeal. 

The suspension will begin on January 1, 2024, and is the result of a long-running investigation carried out by the IHRB, with the regulator describing the case as “unprecedented”. 

As well as being ordered to pay the €750,000 in costs relating to the case, Comer was hit with €85,000 in total fines after 12 horses in his care tested positive for anabolic steroids.

He Knows No Fear, who became the longest-priced winner in Irish racing history when landing a Leopardstown maiden at odds of 300-1 in 2020, is at the centre of what is one of the biggest doping scandals the country has seen. 

A hair sample from He Knows No Fear, taken after he finished fourth in the Listed Trigo Stakes at Leopardstwon in October 2021, was found to have contained MD and MT. 

A further 11 horses also tested positive for anabolic steroids following out of competition testing carried out by the IHRB at Comer's yard in November 2021.

Along with He Knows No Fear, samples were taken from Old Tom Higgins, Boxing Hero, Grand D'Espagne, Aircraft Carrier, Powerful Don, Wee Jim, Great Moon, Our Man Flint, Questionare, Green Force and Blyto. All tests returned positive.

Comer denied that he or any of his staff were involved in the doping of the 12 horses at an extensive hearing that took place at the IHRB headquarters on the Curragh. 

The 65-year-old has been involved in racing for over three decades and his first big-race victory was achieved with Chimes At Midnight in a Group 3 at the Curragh in 2001.

Since then, Comer has been associated with another Group 3 scorer in Kargali, while Raa Atoll provided him with his biggest day on a racecourse when landing a Group 2 contest at Hoppegarten in German in 2019. Last year was Comer's best in terms of numbers with 11 winners recorded domestically from 254 runs.

His extensive sponsorship of Irish racing through Comer Group features the €600,000 Irish St Leger, a race that was won last weekend by Eldar Eldarov, and the Irish St Leger Trial.

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