Former racehorse trainer Matt Gingell has become the first person in British racing to be found guilty of a doping offence involving sodium bicarbonate.

Mr Gingell, who handed in his training licence last month, formerly trained racehorses in North Runcton.

He was last week warned off racing by for two years by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) after being found guilty for the forbidden practice, commonly known as “milkshaking”.

Sodium bicarbonate improves performances in racehorses by controlling the build up of lactic acid in muscles, preventing fatigue in exercise.

Mr Gingell admitted two separate offences at a BHA inquiry on Thursday, 11 June. He admitted to a breach of rule 53 — dealing with positive drug tests and rule 200, which covers any attempt to administer a prohibited substance to affect a horse’s performance.

Racehorse Kassuta, trained by Mr Gingell, tested positive at Fakenham racecourse in November 2007. The mare finished third in a juvenile novice hurdle

During his ban Mr Gingell will not be allowed to go to a racecourse for two years. He has also been ordered to pay £2,500 costs.

He told Norfolk Eastern Daily Press last week: “I held my hands up. “It’s a substance I’ve used all my life with horses. It isn’t an illegal substance under a threshold — once you go over that then it becomes an illegal substance.

“I was unaware there was a threshold but it’s there in black and white.

“I had a fair hearing. They’ve actually given me the minimum punishment they could in this instance. I knew I had exceeded the limit and I completely accept that. They inquired when I used it and where I got it from – which they obviously knew.

“You can buy it from the supermarket. My grandmother used it a long time ago and that’s where I first saw it. It’s all in the feeds anyway.”