Top horse trainer faces charges for banned substance

The trainer of Ireland’s leading Cheltenham Gold Cup candidate, Last Instalment, is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday charged with the possession of banned substances.

The Department of Agriculture brought the case, following an inspection of Philip Fenton’s yard in January 2012.

A statement said: “The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine confirms that a hearing is scheduled for Carrick-on-Suir District Court on Thursday, February 20.

“Charges are being brought under the Animal Remedies legislation, alleging offences relating to possession of animal remedies.

“A person who commits one of the offences listed above is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €5,000, or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months, or to both.”

The Courts Service confirmed in a summons notice that Mr Fenton, of Garryduff, South Lodge, Carrick-on-Suir, has been served with a series of charges in relation to animal remedies.

The case has been mentioned twice at the District Court and is due to be heard again on Thursday.

Denis Egan, chief executive of the Turf Club, confirmed the body is aware of the hearing.

There have been two high-profile cases in Britain of late, where trainers have been banned by the British Horseracing Authority for using anabolic steroids.

Mahmood Al Zarooni, who worked for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation, was banned for eight years, while Gerard Butler got a five-year ban.

Mr Fenton, who was not available for comment yesterday, has been in the news of late for his remarkable handling of both Last Instalment and Dunguib.

Last Instalment was a brilliant novice chaser, but then broke down twice and was on the sidelines for 23 months until reappearing to finish third at Thurles last month.

Then at Leopardstown last Sunday week, the nine-year-old produced a remarkable display of jumping to win the Hennessy Gold Cup by eight and a half lengths.

He is now sharing third favouritism for the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Cue Card, behind last year’s winner, Bobs Worth, and Silviniaco Conti. He is owned by Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud.

Mr Fenton is set to have one of the strongest Cheltenham teams heading to the Cotswolds from this country, with the progressive The Tullow Tank also under his care.

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