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Stephen and Michael McConville receive three year bans

Stephen and Michael McConville receive three year bans

The Armagh-based father and son combination of Stephen and Michael McConville have each received three year bans from the British Horseracing Authority following a hearing in London on Tuesday.

The hearing was called following the culmination into an investigation which centred around the discovery of blood covered syringes in the stable yard at Cheltenham last March where their horse, Anseanachai Cliste, was due to take his chance in the Foxhunters.

The discovery resulted in the stewards ordering the withdrawal of the former champion point-to-pointer from the race in a most unusual occurrence.

Trained by Stephen and owned and due to be ridden by Michael, Anseanachai Cliste was the winner of eight consecutive point-to-point races heading into the Foxhunters, whilst he went on to land the Ulster National at Downpatrick later that month.

The case was the subject of much media attention following the announcement earlier in the summer that it involved Cobalt, a well-known performance enhancing substance in Australia, and was believed to be the first such case in Britain.

However, in delivering their verdict, the Independent panel were clear to highlight that they believed the McConville’s had not administered the injections to Anseanachai Cliste because it contained Cobalt.

In explaining the sequence of events, their legal representative Conor Dufficy acknowledged that it was a gross misjudgement on behalf of the pair.

The three year ban the pair received is also a lesser suspension due to their early acknowledgment of their guilt.
 
Following the verdict, the McConville’s released the following statement:

"We fully accept the finding of the British Horseracing Authority and regret that they had to invest time and resources to investigate and address the incident.

"We apologise for what has happened, which was of our own doing due to lack of knowledge. However, this is no excuse for what happened at Cheltenham.

"The horse was administered the tonic - Hemo 15 - which is a widely used nutritional supplement which, unknown to us, contained cobalt.

"We now just wish to put this unfortunate matter behind us as it has caused a lot of stress to all members of our family as the horses and point-to-pointing is purely a hobby for the family.

"Again, we wish to apologise to the BHA for this unfortunate incident and thank them for the fair hearing."

 


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