Talking Horses: United front against illegal drugs use lost in unseemly row

By: Greg Wood Tuesday 16 November 2021

It may be months before details of the raid on an Irish stud are known but in the meantime shooting the messenger won’t help

According to one report on Monday morning, it could be “a matter of months” before any detail emerges about what, exactly, officials from Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine found when they raided Ballintogher Stud in County Kildare last Tuesday. Even the results of blood and hair tests by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), on samples from thoroughbreds that were on site when the DAFM investigators arrived, are still working their way through the system.

But that has not stopped battle lines being drawn as Ireland’s closely knit racing and breeding industries face up to a potentially devastating threat to their public image and integrity. A private investigator – hired reportedly by a group of British trainers – photographed 56 horseboxes arriving at John Warwick’s clinic at Ballintogher between 15 June and 31 August this year. Yet with the main exception of Jessica Harrington, who has said that she has been sending horses to Warwick, a renowned specialist in tendon injuries, for a number of years, a number of leading Irish trainers and breeders have been keen to distance themselves from the clinic at Ballintogher.

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