A disciplinary panel penalised John Gosden a total of £3,000 for running two fillies towards the end of 2020 that were both found to still have the same therapeutic medicine in their systems more than a fortnight later. One instance had a positive test that was conducted 26 days after medication administration, which the trainer described as “puzzling” but added that he was glad the BHA had ultimately resolved the issue.
The more well-known of the two horses is Majestic Noor. After winning a Listed race at Yarmouth on September 16, 2020, she tested positive for triamcinolone acetonide (TCA). She was injected on September 1 with Adcortyl, an anti-inflammatory that includes TCA and comes with what Charlotte Davison for the BHA described as a “14-day obligatory stand-down period,” according to records at the Gosden yard and the Newmarket Equine Hospital.
According to Davison, vet Benoit Herinckx had injected Majestic Noor’s hind fetlocks with a total of 15 milligrammes of Adcortyl. The chemical might have lingered in her system longer than planned due to a subsequent injury.
There had been damage to the joint capsule of Majestic Noor five days following the medication,” Davison said. “The vet was asked to examine her with regard to swelling, remote to the site of injection, which had not been present when checked the previous evening.
“Dr Herinckx explained that, with the benefit of hindsight, it was possible that damage to the joint capsule may have resulted in leakage of synovial fluid, which resulted in delayed elimination of the drug, which may explain the adverse analytical finding.”
The other positive was returned by Peronista, who finished unplaced on her two career starts. “We had trouble trying to get her moving well and it took us until the end of her three-year-old season before we got her on the racetrack,” the trainer told the panel.
“We tried to give her some help with this, which is very therapeutic to a horse. We are very careful how we use it.”
On September 11, 2020, Peronista was injected, and a positive test result was obtained at Kempton on October 7, almost a month later. While acknowledging that it is “frequently and legitimately prescribed and administered to horses by vets,” Davison responded to the question of why the drug should still be available after such a long time by stating that the BHA believed it could occasionally behave “erratically” when injected into a joint. He also added that trainers had been warned to be cautious when using it.