Top French horse Cirrus Des Aigles is at the centre of a mystery, following a positive test, which showed up a massive dose of a banned anti-inflammatory drug. Trainer Corine Barande-Barbe was at a loss to explain how such a high level of the drug could have been present after the horse was selected for a routine test at Longchamp in May.
She told the Racing Post, “We have learned from France Galop that after his second place in the Prix d’Ispahan at Longchamp on 27 May this year, Cirrus Des Aigles tested positive for a dose of an anti-inflammatory drug described as massive. Having not administered any prohibited substance ourselves, we are convinced it can only be a case of malevolence or else an error was made with the sample.”
France Galop confirmed that a Newmarket laboratory tested a second sample and found the same result so they were passing the case on to the commissioners who deal with the implementation of the rules of racing in France.
There has never been any previous suspicion on the stable, and Barande-Barbe will naturally do all she can to clear up this issue. That’s why she is ready to instigate a judicial inquiry if the results of France Galop’s investigations don’t give her a clean bill of health.
She said, "I went to the police on Saturday to complain against it I'm very surprised and very afraid because if someone can get to the horse they could kill him. If it happens to us, it can happen to anybody. If people begin to hate and are jealous it is terrible. I communicated about the problem as soon as I knew about the positive result because I always communicate easily and I have nothing to hide. We are sure we didn't give him anything - I am confident in my yard. People can only get into his box with a key."
It is ironic that the results of the test should be revealed just days after Cirrus Des Aigles missed an engagement in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud after treatment when he aggravated a spot on the gallops which led to some slight lameness. We’ll know tomorrow whether that is severe enough for him to miss the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
The trainer said, “The wound needs to be smooth so he doesn’t knock it galloping. I won’t be taking any kind of risk and if he needs more time in his stable and I can’t train him normally then he’ll have to be scratched.”