Banned Fenton ‘less than truthful’

Philip Fenton appeared to be "less than truthful and uncooperative", according to a Turf Club report detailing the trainer’s disciplinary hearing at the weekend.

Fenton was called before officials on Saturday after being found guilty of possessing anabolic steroids and other banned substances at a district court hearing in Carrick-on-Suir last month.

The Turf Club banned him for three years following the hearing, although Fenton lodged an appeal against the severity of the suspension on Tuesday.

The Turf Club has now released the reasons for its decision to suspend the handler, with head of security Christopher Gordon feeling that while Fenton accepted his possession of the drugs, he had not been particularly cooperative.

The report said: “Mr Gordon said that while Mr Fenton accepted responsibility for the possession of these substances, he provided little, if any, meaningful cooperation on the circumstances in which the remedies were found in his yard including their origin.

“Mr Gordon gave further details concerning this lack of cooperation with the Turf Club investigation.”

Gordon said “inconsistent accounts” were offered from Fenton and his staff as to how and when the box of banned substances was moved to the horse spa from the medicines room and Fenton was “less than forthcoming” in discussions about how he came to be in possession of the drugs.

Fenton’s solicitor Michael MacGrath admitted the trainer had breached the rules, and the Turf Club described this as a “weighty mitigating factor” in the verdict on a punishment.

The Turf Club committee thought a five- or six-year suspension was an appropriate starting point, but they opted to ban him for three years “in view of the evidence and the submissions by Mr MacGrath on mitigation, cooperation with the referrals committee and the actual financial and other effects of such a penalty on Mr Fenton”.

Meanwhile Flat jockey Danny Grant has been suspended for six months after he failed a drugs test at the Curragh on March 23.

Grant was officially handed a two-year riding ban by the Turf Club, but the last 18 months of the disqualification period was suspended under the assumption he does not fail another test.

He must also remain available for further drugs testing during the entirety of the suspension.

Grant tested positive for metabolites of cocaine at the Curragh on the first day of the Flat turf season in Ireland.

The issue was heard by a referrals committee of the Turf Club in August, but the details of the case were only made available on Wednesday.

Prior to the hearing, Grant’s solicitors said the source of the failed drugs test was a herbal tea product called ’Mate De Coca’, which the jockey had bought online.

The teabags were consequently sent to the Turf Club for testing and indicated the presence of cocaine.

Grant said he had bought the herbal tea to help to soothe a long-standing skin condition, which was in a “bad condition” before Christmas and “brought on by stress”.

Taking into account several other mitigating factors, including the presence of metabolites not being present due to “illicit drug use”, the Turf Club referrals committee showed clemency by suspending 18 months of a two-year ban.

The committee’s report noted, however, that Grant had shown “recklessness” in taking the herbal tea as he had previously been banned for seven months after having failed a drugs test in October 2009.

Grant is closely attached to the stables of Pat Flynn, who told the Turf Club the jockey’s skin condition was the reason for his falling number of rides as he frequently had to give up mounts at short notice.

His six-month suspension will begin on Tuesday, December 9.


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