‘A devastating lesson’ – amateur urges others to wise up on timings after losing Hickstead title due to positive drugs test *H&H VIP*

An amateur rider whose horse tested positive for banned substances has warned others to be vigilant and ensure they leave ‘a substantial amount of time’ before a competition after routine veterinary treatment.

Samantha Wallin’s home-produced Retraining Of Racehorses (RoR) contender Awesome Freddie was tested positive for prohibited substances in a sample of blood taken at the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting, where he stood champion in the RoR Tattersalls Thoroughbred Show Series Championship.

The sample tested positive for phenylbutazone, oxyphenylbutazone, acepromazine and HEPS, which are prohibited substances as defined in the RoR rules and regulations.

The positive result came days after Freddie had been given some bute following shock wave therapy he received on his hock.

Freddie has suffered from a hock issue throughout his retraining and after some soreness mid-season Samantha was advised by her vet to try shock wave therapy.

“He had some bute and it was still in his system at Hickstead,” said Samantha, who has owned Freddie for three years. “It was a routine thing to do; I wasn’t covering up a lame horse. People need to know that withdrawal times are only guidelines and to learn from my experience and leave it longer than advised.

“I am in full support of the RoR and their testing; Freddie has been tested twice before and the results came back clear. This was the biggest win of both our careers and it’s gone due to the fact he was out by a matter of days. People need to learn that we can get it wrong; this has been a devastating lesson and it’s all been very upsetting.

“Freddie will still need to have treatment on his hocks, but I will be sure to leave a longer period in between treatment and shows.”

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Credit was given by the panel for Samantha’s early admission of the breach, the fact that no B sample was requested, her co-operation throughout the matter and her attendance at the hearing to give evidence.

The presence of the prohibited substances was still considered a breach and the penalties included a £500 fine, a disqualification from the class at Hickstead and a two-year caution.

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