The ERA Stewards opened an inquiry on Wednesday 31 March, 2021 into the notification by the Dubai Equine Forensic Unit that the prohibited substance Arsenic, above the permitted threshold, had been detected in two (2) urine samples taken from horses trained by Mr Khalifa Al Neyadi. Those horses and relevant races are:
·WHITE SKY (IRE) at Jebel Ali Friday 6 March, 2020 in Race 6 – “Emirates NBD Maiden 1800 metres”
·JAYIDE AL BORAQ (MA) at Al Ain Friday 13 March, 2020 in Race 3 – “Al Jimi Handicap 1000 metres”
Evidence was taken from Mr. Khalifa Al Neyadi (Trainer), Dr. Kieran Finn (ERA Regulatory Veterinarian) and Dr. Michael Subhahar (Chief Analyst – Dubai Equine Forensic Unit).
The following matters were established;
On Monday 16 March, 2020 the ERA Stewards were advised of an irregularity to arsenic, in the post-race urine sample taken from WHITE SKY (IRE) at Jebel Ali Friday 6 March, 2020.
On Wednesday 18 March, 2020 ERA Stewards and Veterinarian visited Mr Al Neyadi’s “Al Ra’ad” stables and informed him of the irregularity.
Mr Al Neyadi could not explain the sample irregularity and added that WHITE SKY (IRE) had not been given any medication in the month leading up to WHITE SKY (IRE) racing, and as such no medical records existed for the gelding.
During the stable visit Mr Al Neyadi exercised his right to have the reserve portion of WHITE SKY’S (IRE) urine sample analysed by another Accredited Racing Laboratory. Further, samples from all feed given to WHITE SKY (IRE) was taken for analysis.
On Sunday 22 March, 2020 the ERA Stewards were advised of an irregularity to arsenic, in the post-race urine sample taken from JAYIDE AL BORAQ (MA) at Al Ain Friday 13 March, 2020.
As the substance involved was the same as previously reported in the WHITE SKY (IRE) sample, Stewards advised Mr Al Neyadi of the JAYIDE AL BORAQ (MA) irregularity via a telephone call on Monday 23 March, 2020.
During the telephone notification Mr Al Neyadi again exercised his right to have the reserve portion of the urine sample analysed by another Accredited Racing Laboratory, and stated that JAYIDE AL BORAQ (MA) had had no recent medications or treatments. Medical records were tendered showing that medications or treatments had not been recorded for a period in excess of three (3) months.
Subsequent to the second positive notification Mr Al Neyadi provided to the ERA a sample of grass hay that he said had been fed to his horses, for laboratory analysis by the ERA.
The ERA also independently obtained four (4) samples of hay from Mr Al Neyadi’s feed supplier, for laboratory analysis.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club confirmed the presence of Arsenic, above the permitted threshold, in the reserve urine sample from WHITE SKY (IRE), on Wednesday 8 April, 2020.
The Racing Analytical Services Laboratory confirmed the presence of Arsenic, above the permitted threshold, in the reserve urine sample from JAYIDE AL BORAQ (MA), on Wednesday 29 April, 2020.
Dr Subhahar advised that analysis of the feed samples and supplements taken from Mr Al Neyadi’s stables did not contain Arsenic at levels that would explain the high readings found in both horses. The hay sample provided by Mr Al Neyadi was found to contain abnormal levels of Arsenic that could raise the natural level within the horses, while the four (4) samples of hay obtained independently by the ERA did not show unnatural levels of Arsenic.
Dr Finn advised that Arsenic is a trace mineral found in nature and always present in the body, explaining why a threshold level exists in the Rules to account for natural levels found in all samples, that Arsenic levels above the threshold must be due to either ingestion or treatment of Arsenic to the horse, and at very high levels Arsenic can commence to be toxic to horses. Further, at extreme levels Arsenic can be fatal.
Mr K Al Neyadi pled guilty to two (2) charges under ERA Rule 95AAA2, those being:
1) That on Friday 6 March, 2020 as the registered Trainer of WHITE SKY (IRE), he presented that gelding to compete at Jebel Ali Racecourse in the “Emirates NBD Maiden 1800 metres”, where it was subsequently found to have had administered to it the prohibited substance Arsenic, as evidenced by the analysis of a post-race urine sample.
2) That on Friday 13 March, 2020 as the registered Trainer of JAYIDE AL BORAQ (MA), he presented that horse to compete at Al Ain Racecourse in the “Al Jimi Handicap 1000 metres” where it was subsequently found to have had administered to it the prohibited substance Arsenic, as evidenced by the analysis of a post-race urine sample.
In determining the appropriate penalty in this case, the Stewards considered a number of factors including:
The circumstances of the offence;
Nature of the substance;
General and specific deterrence;
The integrity and image of racing in the UAE;
The high levels of Arsenic detected in the samples;
Mr Al Neyadi’s guilty plea and clear record in relation to the prohibited substance rules over a long period in racing.
Mr Al Neyadi was subsequently fined the sum of AED 40,000 and advised of his rights of appeal.
Pursuant to ERA 86(ii), JAYIDE AL BORAQ (MA) was disqualified as the winner of Race 3, “Al Jimi Handicap 1000 metres” at Al Ain racecourse on Friday 13 March, 2020, with the placings amended to:
Additionally WHITE SKY (IRE) was disqualified from its placing in race 6 at Jebel Ali on Friday 6 March, 2020.
ERA 86 (ii) –
Where any declared runner has been the subject of an examination under Rules 8(vi) and or (vii) and has been found to have received any Prohibited Substance, the Horse shall be disqualified from that Race and from other Races as the ERA determines.
ERA Rule 95AAA 2 –
Any Trainer or other Person in charge of a Horse, which is presented to Race or perform a Test, or has Raced or performed a Test which is found (upon analysis) to have had administered to it a Prohibited Substance, shall be liable to a Penalty.
ERA Rule 95D (ii) –
Upon the detection by an Accredited Racing Laboratory of a Prohibited Substance in a Sample from a Horse, such laboratory shall notify its finding to the Stewards, who shall then notify the Trainer of the Horse of such finding and give him the option to have the reserve portion of the Sample Tested at another ERA-approved Accredited Racing Laboratory. The Trainer will have 3 days to notify the Stewards of such requirement. A refusal by the Trainer to Test the reserve portion of the Sample shall not prevent the Stewards from having the reserve portion of the Sample Tested.
Mr Taylor Wilson (Chairman), Mr Sam Shinsky and Mr Ajay Anne.
Emirates Racing Media Release