A leading owner has withdrawn two high-profile horses from racing as the case against trainer Philip Fenton regarding the alleged possession of banned animal medicines, including anabolic steroids, was adjourned until after the Cheltenham Festival.
Mr Fenton, aged 49, of Garryduff, South Lodge, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, was not in court in Carrick-on-Suir yesterday when the charges against him were mentioned. Counsel for the Minister for Agriculture indicated there will be 12 to 15 witnesses called, including some from France.
As things stand, Mr Fenton will be allowed to run his horses — including the Michael O’Leary-owned Hennessy Gold Cup winner Last Instalment and former Champion Bumper winner Dunguib — at next month’s festival.
However, the British Horseracing Authority said it will wait until it has all of relevant information about the case before making a decision.
Leading owner Barry Connell announced he was withdrawing the two horses he has with Mr Fenton — The Tullow Tank and Volvalien — from racing until the case is resolved.
The Tullow Tank was a major fancy for the Neptune Investment Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham. Some bookmakers have confirmed they will refund ante-post bets placed on the two horses.
Mr Connell told the Racing Post both horses will stay in training with Philip.
Declan Molan, for Mr Fenton, applied for an adjournment of six weeks to allow for the preparation of legal submissions. He was given four weeks by Judge Terence Finn.
The State, represented by John Ryan, opposed the application as the case had been adjourned in December and January. “We’re ready to proceed,” he said.
Mr Molan told the court the defence had counsel working on legal submissions, which relate to the jurisdiction of the court to deal with the charges.
Judge Finn adjourned the case until March 20.
Afterwards, a spokesman for the British Horseracing Authority said that as things stand, Mr Fenton will be allowed send his horses to Cheltenham. However, he confirmed that “no final decision has yet been made”.
In a statement, the authority said it is currently in possession “of little in the way of information regarding the charges that Philip Fenton is facing”.
Mr Fenton faces eight charges relating to possession of unlicensed animal remedies at his yard at Garryduff on January 18, 2012. The charges include possession of Nitrotain and Ilium Stanabolic, which contain anabolic steroids, as well as possession of antibiotics for which there was no prescription from a vet.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved