Top trainer offers £10k reward to clear his name in drug case

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  • A top racehorse trainer is offering a £10,000 reward for information to help clear his name in a banned substance case.

    Hughie Morrison told H&H this morning he is innocent after a horse in training with him tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone and a metabolite.

    He believes the drug may have been given to the mare as an act of sabotage and is offering £10,000 for information to help clear his name.

    Our Little Sister was selected for testing by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) after finishing last in a mid-week all-weather 2m1/2f sprint at Wolverhampton on 14 January.

    The four-year-old mare, who won none of her nine starts under Rules, ran three times in January and has since been retired from racing.

    “Any trainer would have to be bonkers to do this,” said Mr Morrison. “What upsets me the most is the ripple effect, not just on my life but everybody involved in my business including my 25 employees.”

    The BHA has a “zero-tolerance” view on anabolic steroids, with the maximum penalty a 10-year-ban. The authority’s rules on anabolic steroids were toughened in 2015 following high-profile cases in 2013. Under the current regulations, a horse must not have been administered an anabolic steroid “at any point in its life”.

    The BHA conducted a raid on Mr Morrison’s Berkshire training yard on 3 February, where all horses including Our Little Sister tested negative for prohibited substances.

    “It has been five months of purgatory,” added Mr Morrison. “I have had nearly 800 winners and never had a failed drug test.”

    Mr Morrison is known for being outspoken in favour of clean sport and against steroid use.

    Over his 21-year training career his major wins include multiple Group Ones, such as victories in the Oaks twice and the July Cup.

    “What on earth could I have to gain from this? Our Little Sister was a horse of limited ability, in a race with hardly any prize money, and there was no unusual betting on it,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

    “Racing is my life. My reputation is everything. I might annoy a few people, but everyone knows my integrity is 100 per cent. I would never, ever do anything to besmirch the good name of the sport.”

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    A spokesman for Thames Valley Police confirmed to H&H that the matter had been reported to them and added this is a case for the BHA.

    A statement from the BHA said the charges will now be considered by a disciplinary panel. No date has yet been given for this.

    “In accordance with the BHA’s normal practice of assisting a trainer in circumstances such as these to establish the source of the administration, the BHA has carried out all reasonable enquiries it can with the full cooperation of Mr Morrison,” said the statement.

    “Anyone with information in relation to this matter should contact the BHA by calling RaceStraight, our confidential helpline, on 0800 085 2580 or by visiting www.britishhorseracing.com/racestraight/.

    “All information will be treated in the strictest confidence and the identity of any caller will remain anonymous.”

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