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Horseracing vet James Main steps down from BHA committees

Vet James Main has resigned from his position on two British Horseracing Authority (BHA) committees after giving a racehorse a banned drug on the day of racing.

Mr Main, who sat on the BHA’s veterinary committee and its counter-analysis advisory committee — which determines where a confirmatory “B” sample will be tested following a positive drug test result — gave a banned substance to the Nicky Henderson-trained Moonlit Path before her debut race on 19 February.

The six-year-old mare returned a positive test for tranexamic acid (TA) — a drug that aids blood clotting in horses prone to bleeding — after finishing sixth at Huntingdon.

Following the conclusion of the case, the BHA said Mr Main was to have his position on its two committees reviewed (news, 9 July).

But the BHA called a halt to the review after Main resigned.

“The National Trainers Federation [NTF] has confirmed that James Main has resigned as their veterinary adviser and as such no longer sits on the BHA’s veterinary and counter-analysis committees,” said a spokesman for the BHA.

But NTF chairman Rupert Arnold said: “On this occasion we don’t believe it is necessary to comment.”

On 2 July, Mr Henderson, who trains Moonlit Path for The Queen, was fined a record £40,000 and banned from entering horses into races for three months (from 11 July-10 October) after being found guilty of administering a banned drug.

Mr Main declined to give evidence at the hearing. He told the BHA at a previous interview on 19 March that he didn’t know at the time that TA was banned substance.

But as a member of the two committees and as the senior vet at Newbury racecourse, the BHA hearing panel found it “impossible to accept that a vet with the experience Mr Main possesses did not know that TA was prohibited”.

And although Mr Main injected Moonlit Path at 6.30am on the day of the race, the “animal history” maintained by Mr Main’s practice described his visit as just a “pre-race check”.

The panel concluded that the log was “calculated to mislead in the event of an outside investigation”.

A spokesman for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons declined to comment on whether an investigation is being conducted into the incident.

Mr Main was not available for comment.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (23 July, ’09)

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