ERA Media Release - Mr S Al Shamsi

On Monday 6 January, 2020 the Emirates Racing Authority Stewards inquired into reports received from the Dubai Equine Forensic Unit, that the prohibited substance cobalt, above the permitted threshold, was detected in post-race urine samples taken from AF SOLF (AE) at Al Ain racecourse on Friday 22 November, 2019 after finishing 7th in the Wathba Stallions Cup (1600m) and LA ATAB (AE) at Abu Dhabi racecourse on Sunday 8 December, 2019 after finishing 13th in the Al Ajban Maiden (1200m).

In attendance was Mr Saeed Al Shamsi (Trainer of AF SOLF (AE) and LA ATAB (AE), Mr Khalid Theeban (Assistant Trainer and owner of AF SOLF (AE) and LA ATAB (AE)), Dr Kieran Finn (ERA Chief Regulatory Veterinary Officer) and Dr Michael Subhahar (Dubai Equine Forensic Unit Chief Analyst).

The inquiry heard:

1. The Dubai Equine Forensic Unit reported the sample irregularities to the ERA on Wednesday 4 December (AF SOLF (AE)) and Sunday 15 December, 2019 (LA ATAB (AE))
2. On Monday 9 December the ERA Stewards and Veterinarian conducted an arranged stable inspection at Mr Al Shamsi’s Al Shahama Stables, Al Wathba, to notify Mr Al Shamsi of the AF SOLF (AE) irregularity and obtain permission for the reserve portion of the urine sample to be tested. A resting blood sample was also taken from AF SOLF (AE) for the analysis of cobalt.
3. On Sunday 16 December the ERA Stewards and Veterinarian notified Mr Al Shamsi of the LA ATAB (AE) irregularity via a recorded telephone call. As a result of the notification Mr Al Shamsi relinquished his right to have the reserve portion of urine from LA ATAB (AE) tested by another accredited laboratory.
4. Stewards advised Mr Al Shamsi via email on Thursday 19 December that due to Mr Al Shamsi’s request to not have LA ATAB’s (AE) reserve sample tested in accordance with ERA Rule 95D(iv), the sample taken from LA ATAB (AE) would now be considered conclusive evidence that a Prohibited Substance had been administered.
5. The ERA was notified by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Racing Laboratory on Wednesday 1 January, 2020, that the reserve portion of the sample taken from AF SOLF (AE) had confirmed the presence of cobalt at a level above the international threshold.
6. Dr Finn and Dr Subhahar gave evidence that supplements and a paste that were given to both horses in the lead up to their respective races, would alone not have raised each horse’s cobalt levels to the quantities found by each laboratory.
7. Mr Al Shamsi could offer no plausible explanation as to how AF SOLF (AE) or LA ATAB (AE) came to have excessive levels of cobalt when presented to race.

Mr Al Shamsi was issued the following charges;

Charge 1: That he presented and raced AF SOLF (AE) at Al Ain racecourse in the Wathba Stallions Cup (1600m) on Friday 22 November, 2019, when a post-race urine sample taken from that colt, upon analysis, was found to have had cobalt administered to it, a prohibited substance when present above the threshold. (ERA Rule 95AAA 2.)
Plea: Guilty.

Charge 2: That he presented and raced LA ATAB (AE) at Abu Dhabi racecourse in the Al Ajban Maiden (1200m) on Sunday 8 December, 2019, when a post-race urine sample taken from that filly, upon analysis, was found to have had cobalt administered to it, a prohibited substance when present above the threshold. (ERA Rule 95AAA 2.)
Plea: Guilty.

Charge 3: That he failed to satisfactorily maintain a Medication Log Book, in that pastes and supplements administered to his horses were not recorded. (ERA Rule 31B(iv))
Plea: Guilty.

In determining suitable penalties Stewards took notice of a number of factors, including that Mr Al Shamsi has been licenced as a Trainer for 5 years, Mr Al Shamsi has had two previous breaches of the prohibited substance Rules since February 2019 (4 positive samples within 37 starters), that cobalt is a performance enhancing substance allowing the body to carry more oxygen giving an athletic advantage and in high levels is toxic to the health of the horse, as well as the need for a penalty to include a significant deterrence factor designed to act as a notice that the ERA will not tolerate positive samples to prohibited substances.

Charge 1: Disqualification for a period of two (2) years, to commence midnight Monday 6 January 2020 and to expire midnight Thursday 6 January, 2022.

Charge 2: Disqualification for a period of two (2) years, to commence midnight Monday 6 January 2020 and to expire midnight Thursday 6 January, 2022 (to be served concurrent to Charge 1 penalty).

Charge 3: Fined AED 2,000.

In accordance with ERA Rule 86 (ii) AF SOLF (AE) was disqualified from its position in the Wathba Stallions Cup (1600m) at Al Ain racecourse on Friday 22 November, 2019, and LA ATAB (AE) was disqualified from its position in the Al Ajban Maiden (1200m) at Abu Dhabi racecourse on Sunday 8 December, 2019, with all subsequent placings amended.

Mr Al Shamsi was advised of his rights of appeal.

Relevant Rules

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

95AAA 2. Any Trainer or other Person in charge of a Horse, which is presented to Race or perform a Test, or has Raced or performed a Test which is found (upon analysis) to have had administered to it a Prohibited Substance, shall be liable to a Penalty.

Mr Saeed Al Shamsi’s Relevant Record

• 2 April 2019 – Pled guilty to presenting SWORD OF TRUTH (IRE) to Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday 8 February 2019 with a prohibited substance (Trometamol). Fined AED 30,000.
• 20 May 2019 - Pled guilty to presenting JAZIRAT (IRE) to Al Ain racecourse on Thursday 11 April 2019 with prohibited substances (Caffeine, Theophylline, Theobromine and Paraxanthine). Fined AED 40,000.

Stewards Panel: Mr Taylor Wilson (Chairman), Mr Samuel Shinsky and Mr John Zucal