Charles Byrnes awaiting verdict following Viking Hoard appeal

Trainer Charles Byrnes is awaiting a verdict from the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board’s appeals panel after contesting the decision to suspend his licence for six months and fine him €1,000.

Byrnes was handed the penalties after one of his horses tested positive for a prohibited substance after being pulled up at Tramore on October 18, 2018.

The urine sample of Viking Hoard was found to contain hydroxyethylpromazinehydroxide (HEPS), a metabolite of acepromazine (ACP), which is a sedative and forbidden under the rules of racing.

The IHRB Referrals Committee held a hearing via Zoom on January 7, with the authority informing Byrnes of its decision before issuing a 14-page written judgement to support its conclusions.

The committee decided “the evidence showed that Viking Hoard was subject to a dangerous degree of sedation during the race”, and came to the conclusion the horse had been “nobbled” by an unidentified third party when left unaccompanied.

Cliodhna Guy, IHRB head of legal, licensing and compliances, submitted that while it was not alleged that Byrnes was directly involved in either the administration of ACP or the betting patterns, he had “taken risks in discharging his responsibilities under the rules that resulted in an extremely serious outcome from the perspective of the IHRB”.

However, the IHRB added at the time that Byrnes had signalled his intention to appeal and the handler has been able to continue having runners in the interim, sending out Off You Go to win at the Dublin Racing Festival on Sunday.

The appeal was heard on Tuesday evening, with no date set for a verdict.

A spokesperson for the IHRB said on Wednesday: “The appeal was heard last night, the panel reserved their judgement and after that we just await their decision.”

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