Philip Fenton Found Guilty Of Steroid Possession

Irish trainer Philip Fenton was found guilty of eight charges of possessing unlicensed animal remedies.

The trainer, who is now considering an appeal, has been fined €6,000 and must pay more than €10,000 in total costs following the hearing into charges brought by Ireland’s Department of Agriculture at Carrick-on-Suir District Court in County Tipperary. The Cheltenham Festival-winning trainer was found guilty for harboring unlicensed animal remedies, including the steroid Nitrotrain (which contains the steroid ethylestrenol) and Ilium Stanabolic, the performance-enhancing drug that contains the steroid Stanozolol.

The drugs were found hidden underneath a horse blanket near the medicine store of Fenton, in a cardboard box addressed to the trainer at his stable during a raid on Fenton’s stable in January 2012 by investigators from Ireland’s Department of Agriculture.

The Department is being represented by Sean Gillane, senior counsel, with barrister Johnny Walshe representing Fenton.

Barrister Johnny Walshe representing Fenton claimed that the Department’s investigators did not followed the correct protocols when they visited Fenton’s yard and after the visit. Walshe referred to the absence of a search warrant and a Department exhibits book to record details of the substances found. The Barrister also pointed to the alleged failure of officials to caution Fenton on the day in question. In summary, the presiding judge, Timothy Lucey, said he was in no doubt that the substances listed in the charges and shown to the court were the same ones that had been found in the yard of Fenton though he remarked some of the procedures had been “sloppy.”

The court was told by Caroline Garvan, a vet with the Department, that the 1kg tub of Nitrotain contained enough of the steroid to provide 250 doses. Garvan also remarked anabolic steroids increase muscle mass, stamina and strength and also said they are most definitely a performance-enhancer. The Vet added steroids increase an animal’s musculature and ability to perform and commented that Ethylestranol is probably the most potent anabolic steroid you could see as it is four times stronger than Stanozolol and you would start to see its effects in about two weeks. He also remarked it is also very difficult to detect as it can be excreted out of the body in 24 hours.

Nitrotain gives an opportunity to an unscrupulous trainer to improve the performance of a horse with little chance of their cheating being discovered in a post-race dope test.

The Turf Club will also initiate its own investigation into the case following the guilty verdict against Fenton. Turf Club chief executive Denis Egan said the next step is we will be interviewing Philip and the matter will then be referred to our referral committee. Egan added we will get to work on it almost immediately. Chris Gordon, the head of security for the Irish Turf Club, said regular of the sport in Ireland would take the appropriate steps following the conclusion of the court case. Gordon also remarked there will be an investigation commenced immediately and an interview with Philip Fenton will form part of the investigation.

The 49-year-old is best known for handling Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Last Instalment and 2009 Champion Bumper winner Dunguib.

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