Pat Hughes, who is one of the few elite trainers to have saddled winners at both the Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot, has been asked to pay €5,600 in legal costs and expenses and a fine of €2,500 by the court in County Carlow. This was after Hughes was found guilty of possessing unauthorized animal remedies including Stanozolol.

The 72-year-old Hughes saddled Time Machine to win the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot in 1985, and Antarctic Bay, the winner of Cheltenham’s Sun Alliance (now RSA) Chase, also in 1985. The trainer trains at Fenniscourt Stud near Bagenalstown in County Carlow. Pat Hughes, one of the most experienced trainers in Ireland, had earned a reputation as an extremely shrewd handler. Hughes sent out Antarctic Bay in 1985 to win the RSA Chase at Cheltenham and Time Machine to win the Wokingham at Royal Ascot. The trainer is also known for landing the 2006 Irish Grand National with Point Barrow.

Pat Hughes was charged with eight counts of possessing unauthorized remedies after a raid on his stable by inspectors from Department of Agriculture of Ireland in February 2012. Three bottles containing Stanozolol were found in a Portakabin at the yard of Hughes. Other items found by the Department of Agriculture inspectors included Vetaglin (a painkiller), Jurocyl (an appetite stimulant), AMP 5 (used to dilate blood vessels), Diurex (a diuretic), L-Carnitine (an amino-acid supplement), and VAM (a vitamin and mineral booster). None of these products is authorized for use of animals in Ireland.

A spokesman for the Turf Club, which regulates horse racing in Ireland, remarked the body has no comments to make but said the ruling and its ramifications will now be “discussed” by officials of the club.

On February 1, 2012, a Department vet from the special investigations unit, Louis Riordan, said a package that was imported into Ireland from Australia was intercepted by Customs. This package contained a number of animal remedies and one of the names included on the invoice’s package as a co-signee was Pat Hughes. The trainer however claimed he had never administered or any steroid to any of his horses. The trainer pleaded not guilty to all charges at a recent hearing but Judge Eamon O’Brien found the case in favor of the state.

In October 2013, John Hughes, a former Ministry of Agriculture veterinary inspector and the brother of Pat Hughes, pleaded guilty to five counts of possessing unlicensed animal products, including anabolic steroids. His case was dismissed “on its merits” in October 2013, with Hughes agreeing to pay £10,000 to an animal charity.

The case was being brought by the Ministry of Agriculture, like the case of Philip Fenton, the trainer of Gold Cup hope Last Installment, who is facing eight charges that include the possession of anabolic steroids. Denis Egan, the chief executive of the Irish Turf Club, had remarked this year that now that we know that steroids are involved in Pat Hughes’ case it could be very serious if he is found guilty.

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