Irish trainer Philip Fenton’s horses — including Gold Cup contender Last Instalment — have been cleared to run at the Cheltenham Festival next week.
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) went to Ireland on 26 February to interview the trainer and test his horses after it was revealed he faced charges relating to the possession of banned drugs.
On Wednesday (5 March) it was confirmed that the investigation “found no evidence that Fenton’s Cheltenham-entered horses have been administered with anabolic steroids”.
Dunguib, Last Instalment and Value At Risk have been cleared to take up their Cheltenham Festival entries. Last Instalment is currently 3rd favourite for Friday’s (14 March) Gold Cup at 7-1 behind Bobs Worth and Silviniaco Conti.
“The findings of this investigation have not given us a reason to believe that any of the Fenton-trained horses entered for Cheltenham have been administered with performance-enhancing substances,” said BHA chief executive Paul Bittar.
“Therefore there was no basis, legal or otherwise, on which to prevent the horses from running.
“Our investigation included testing of the horses with entries for Cheltenham, using both blood and hair screening methods.
“The tests showed no presence of anabolic steroids or anything else untoward. These facts were further supported by the individual circumstances surrounding each horse, including their training and testing histories, as well as the interview which took place between members of our Integrity team and Fenton.
“This is now a matter for the Irish criminal justice system and the Irish Turf Club, with which we have coordinated throughout.”
Fenton’s court hearing in Co Tipperary on 20 February ended with the case being adjourned until 20 March — after the Festival (11-14 March). This was to allow him to prepare legal submissions.
Fenton faces 8 charges relating to possession of banned anabolic steroids and prescription-only medicines without vet prescriptions. The drugs were seized from his yard on 18 January 2012 by the Irish Department of Agriculture.