A case of contaminated feed and one of the world’s most prestigious race meetings is now the subject of a case in the Irish High Cout after legal proceedings were issued yesterday in Dublin.

In 2020, in the midst of the global pandemic, horseracing was one of the sports that was able to continue albeit largely behind closed doors.

The Prix de l’Arc du Triomphe meeting in Paris is one of the high points of the racing summer but 20 months ago eight horses trained at Ballydoyle in Tipperary by Aidan O’Brien had to be withdrawn from the meeting as a result of traces of a substance known as Zilpaterol in feed supplied to them by Gain Equine Feeds, part of Glanbia Foods Ireland Limited.

O’Brien is one of the plaintiffs to lodge the proceedings in a case being handled by Mason, Hayes & Curran.

This is the second case to be lodged in Ireland with Glanbia Agribusiness itself lodging a claim in the Commercial Court in March against ED&F Man Liquid Products Ireland over the contamination coming from molasses supplied by them to make up part of the food.

The long-established agribusiness dating back 250 years is a major international player and did not contest the court proceedings which claim that Glanbia lost a sum of €9 million as a result of the contamination.

The drug itself is permitted in livestock farming in the United States but is banned in the EU.

The news about the horses only broke 48 hours before the race in question in October 2020. French racing authorities found traces in five horses as part of routine testing and the use of Gain Feeds was the common denominator.

Among the horses which Aidan O’Brien had in Paris was Serpentine who had won the Epsom Derby the previous June and was considered to be a live contender for the race.

If the case comes to a trial evidence will have to be looked at about the potential value that the withdrawal cost. If Serpentine had won the race his value at stud could have been anything up to €40 million per year but there are a lot of variables in there and it would require judges to become experts in the form book as well as international bloodstock markets.

None of the parties to the case were making comment on it yesterday and no date has yet been set for the hearings to commence.



Sport for Business Partners