ERA Media Release - Mr Hamza Al Hamida

The ERA Stewards opened an inquiry on Wednesday 22nd January 2020, into the notification by the Dubai Equine Forensic Unit that the pre-race urine sample taken from LA YFOOTKUM (AE) prior to it competing in Race 2 “Wathba Stallions Cup (For Private Owners Only) Handicap” over 2200 metres at Abu Dhabi Racecourse on Sunday 15th December 2019, was found to have a concentration of Cobalt in excess of 100 micrograms per litre in urine.

Evidence was taken from Mr. Hamza Al Hamida (Trainer), Mr. Hemidy Al Hamida (Assistant Trainer), Adnan Al Hamida (Head Lad), Dr. Kieran Finn (ERA Regulatory Veterinarian) and Dr. Michael Subhahar (Chief Analyst – Dubai Equine Forensic Unit). The following matters were established during the inquiry;
1. On Sunday 22nd December 2019, ERA Stewards were advised of the irregularity to Cobalt in respect to the pre-race urine sample taken from LA YFOOTKUM (AE) at Abu Dhabi Racecourse on Sunday 15th December, 2019.
2. On Sunday 29th December 2019, the ERA Stewards informed Mr. H Al Hamida of the sample irregularity with a stable visit at his registered training location “Al Mugirraat Stable”. Mr. H Al Hamida was unable to offer an explanation for the elevated level of Cobalt returned in LA YFOOTKUM (AE). Stewards obtained a blood sample from LA YFOOTKUM (AE) at the stables to be analysed for Cobalt.
3. On Sunday 29th December 2019, Mr. H Al Hamida advised that he wished to exercise his right to have the reserve portion of the sample analysed by another accredited racing laboratory in accordance with ERA Rule 95D(ii).
4. On Monday 6th January 2020, the ERA Stewards were advised that the blood sample taken from LA YFOOTKUM (AE), on Sunday 29th December 2019, to be analysed for cobalt, returned a level of 2.0 micrograms per litre in plasma, with the international threshold being 25 micrograms per litre in plasma.
5. On Friday 17th January 2020, the ERA Stewards received confirmation from the Hong Kong Jockey Club that the presence of Cobalt above the urine threshold was detected in the reserve sample of LA YFOOTKUM (AE).
6. Mr. H Al Hamida tendered evidence that LA YFOOTKUM (AE) received an injection of 2ml of Vitamin B12 at midday on Sunday 15th December 2019. The administration was done by the recommendation of his stable veterinarian with his approval. Mr H Al Hamida acknowledged his error in failing to withdraw LA YFOOTKUM (AE) from the races that day, understanding that treating a racehorse on the day of the races was a breach of the ERA Rules of Racing.

Trainer Mr. H Al Hamida pled guilty to a charge under the provisions of ERA Rule 95AAA 1(b), in that he caused Vitamin B12 to be administered to LA YFOOTKUM (AE) prior to the horse racing at Abu Dhabi Racecourse on Sunday 15th December 2019, in Race 2 “Wathba Stallions Cup (For Private Owners Only) Handicap” over 2200 metres, which upon analysis of a pre-race urine sample detected a Cobalt level in excess of the prescribed threshold level of 100 micrograms per litre in urine.

In determining an appropriate penalty, the Stewards considered a number of factors including:
• The circumstances of the offence;
• The seriousness of the offence, involving the presentation of Cobalt above the threshold level;
• Administration, via injection, of a prohibited substance;
• General and specific deterrence;
• The integrity and image of racing in the UAE;
• Previous penalties imposed for offences under ERA Rule 95AAA 2 in relation to cobalt;
• Mr. H Al Hamida’s guilty plea and record in relation to the prohibited substance rules (see below).

Taking into account these circumstances, Mr. H Al Hamida was disqualified for a period of 18 months, to commence midnight Wednesday 22nd January, 2020 and to expire midnight Thursday 22nd July, 2021.

Further Mr. H Al Hamida pled guilty to a charge under the provisions of ERA Rule 31B(iv), in that he failed to maintain the Medication Log Book for LA YFOOTKUM (AE). Mr. H Al Hamida was fined the sum of AED 2,000.

Pursuant to ERA 86(ii), LA YFOOTKUM (AE) was disqualified from twelfth (12th) position in Race 2 “Wathba Stallions Cup (For Private Owners Only) Handicap” over 2200 metres at Abu Dhabi Racecourse on Sunday 15th December 2019, and the placings adjusted accordingly.

Mr. H Al Hamida’s s record in relation to prohibited substances:
Mr. H Al Hamida tendered evidence of a prior breach in 1997, to morphine.

Relevant Rules:
ERA Rules 31B(iv) – Trainers who fail to maintain medical records or cannot produce the aforementioned records are guilty of an Offence.

ERA 86(ii) – Where any declared runner has been the subject of an examination under the Rules 8(vi) and or (vii) and has been found to have received a Prohibited Substances, the Horse shall be disqualified from the Race and from other Races as the ERA determines.

ERA Rule 95AA – The ERA gives notice that the following substances are also deemed to be Prohibited Substances when presented above these thresholds:
* Cobalt at a mass concentration of 100 micrograms per litre in urine or 25 micrograms per litre in plasma

ERA Rule 95AAA 1 – Any Person shall be liable to Penalty if:
(b) They administer or cause to be administered any Prohibited Substance which is detected in any Sample taken pursuant to Rule 8(vii) from any Horse prior to or following any Race, or Test

ERA Rules 95D(ii) – Upon the detection by an Accredited Racing Laboratory of a Prohibited Substance in the Sample from a Horse, such laboratory shall notify its finding to the Stewards, who shall then notify the Trainer of the Horse of such finding and give him the option to have the reserve portion of the Sample Tested at another ERA-approved Accredited Racing Laboratory. The Trainer will have 3 days to notify the Stewards of such requirement. A refusal by the Trainer to Test the reserve portion of the Sample shall not prevent the Stewards from having the reserve portion of the Sample Tested.

Stewards Panel:
• Mr. Sam Shinsky (Chairman), Mr. Taylor Wilson and Mr. John Zucal.