Hollie Doyle has been handed a one-month ban – suspended for year – having tested positive for traces of a banned substance found in a painkiller used to treat an elbow injury.
The charge relates to Doyle returning a positive test for Dihyrocodeine (DHC) following her return to riding from a lengthy injury lay-off.
Having undergone surgery on her elbow in February 2023, Doyle returned at Newcastle on March 31 having been prescribed DHC post-operatively.
Upon interview Doyle also said she had been taking what she believed to be ibuprofen tablets previously ‘over the counter’ in Japan and had used those as pain relief. These tablets are marketed as ‘Pabron Ace Pro’.
Following an investigation by the British Horseracing Authority it was thought the likely source of DHC was therapeutic consumption of Pabron Ace Pro and Doyle had attempted to check the ingredients using Google Lens.
Sarah Crowther KC, chair of the BHA’s independent disciplinary panel, said: “I agree with the BHA that in light of the investigative findings, it is appropriate to reduce the penalty from the entry point of two months’ withdrawal of licence to one-month suspension.
“The breach was unintended and Ms Doyle has been cooperative with the investigation and made appropriate and early admissions. There is no evidence to suggest that Ms Doyle’s suitability to hold a licence is affected and therefore withdrawal would serve no purpose.
“The period of one-month suspension reflects the seriousness of the breach and also the fact that there is an element of lack of care involved.
“This is a first offence and I am content that the penalty can be suspended for one year and maintain its deterrent effect. I am confident that Ms Doyle will have learned from this episode and the risk of recurrence is extremely low indeed.
“The BHA has given consideration to requiring Ms Doyle to take part in the Enhanced Sampling Programme, but in my judgement that would be unnecessary where all the evidence suggests that this was a one-off error rather than a situation of any potential underlying systemic issue and monitoring would serve no real purpose.
“I therefore approve the penalty of one-month suspension of licence, suspended for one year.”
In a statement, Doyle said: “In April, when returning to ride after my elbow injury, Dr Jerry Hill informed me that I had tested positive for traces of Dihydrocodeine, which is a painkiller used to treat moderate pain.
“I required elbow surgery in February and was prescribed dihydrocodeine, which I stopped consuming a few days after my operation as it made me feel unwell. In April I tested positive on my return to ride, and I stated that I has only been taking ibuprofen and paracetamol throughout my recovery to control some swelling.
“After some research we found that the contamination came from a packet of ibuprofen which I had purchased when riding overseas, that unknowingly contained small amounts of Dihydrocodeine. The BHA accepts that this was the likely source of the positive.
“The BHA also accepts that the breach was innocent and unintended, but due to it being a strict liability case, they found it appropriate to impose a one-month suspended suspension.
“I’m extremely grateful to my family, friends, and employers for the support and advice over the last five months. We’re all very glad it’s over.”