Hills named as other trainer with morphine positives

Barry Hills

Barry Hills: two horses in his care have tested positive for morphine

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)  

BARRY HILLS has been named as the remaining trainer who had horses test positive for morphine. The news comes on the day the BHA announced a date for a disciplinary hearing for five of the trainers involved.

Hills, who in June was granted a temporary licence to train by the BHA following the death of his eldest son John, was the only one of six trainers with a horse testing positive for morphine to remain anonymous until now.

Two horses in his care have tested positive for the prohibited substance, with traces found in samples given by Soul Intent and Jolly Red Jeanz after wins at Epsom and Chester respectively in July.  

According to the BHA, in seven of the eight cases – involving five trainers – the circumstances are sufficiently similar for the cases to be heard together, with September 25 scheduled for that hearing.

A statement from the sport’s governing body read: “It will be BHA’s position at this hearing that the source of the positive samples was a contaminated batch of feed and that the trainers took all reasonable precautions to avoid breaching the rules of racing.

“BHA will submit that no financial penalty should be imposed. However, according to the rules of racing, the horses involved should be disqualified from the relevant races.”  
 
While the eighth case, involving trainer Eve Johnson-Houghton, is also said to be related to feed contamination, the BHA says there are differences in the circumstances and her case will be heard by the disciplinary panel separately in due course.

The statement continues: “Today’s announcement follows the conclusion of BHA’s investigations into the matter and the receipt of the results of the counter-analysis on the ‘B’ samples, as requested by connections of some of the horses concerned. In all cases that ‘B’ sample analyses were requested, the samples also returned positive.

“BHA has worked with the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) and Dodson Horrell throughout the course of this investigation and statements provided by those organisations during the investigation will be considered. BHA has also worked closely with the National Trainers Federation (NTF) in these matters.

“While not ruling out the possibility of further positive samples of morphine being detected, there are currently no indications of any additional positive samples.”

Racing was rocked last month when Buckingham Palace revealed the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Estimate had failed a drugs test and it emerged runners from the yards of Tony Carroll, Eve Johnson Houghton, Gay Kelleway and Charlie Hills had tested positive as well.

A product from Northamptonshire-based company Dodson Horrell is suspected of being the source of the contamination, although Johnson Houghton said she did not use the one in question.

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