Racing UK

Hughie Morrison faces lengthy ban after filly tests positive for banned substance

Thursday 18 May 2017

Trainer Hughie Morrison

By Racinguk.com staff

Hughie Morrison could lose his training licence after one of his horses tested positive for an anabolic steroid.

Morrison is facing the prospect of a suspension of between one and 10 years after his filly, Our Little Sister, was found to have contained nandrolone in her system after a race at Wolverhampton on January 14.

The British Horseracing Authority confirmed on Thursday afternoon that it has issued charges against the trainer.

The charges will be considered by a Disciplinary Panel at a later date.

Morrison has protested his innocence and, unusually, the BHA has said that anyone with information in relation to the matter should contact them by calling RaceStraight, their confidential helpline, on 0800 085 2580 or by visiting http://www.britishhorseracing.com/racestraight/.

The BHA say all information will be treated in the strictest confidence and the identity of any caller will remain anonymous.

Our Little Sister finished last of eight runners in an extended two-mile handicap, in which she was sent off at odds of 12-1.

Morrison has denied all wrongdoing and said he has offered a cash reward of £10,000 for information that would lead to his name being cleared.

The Group One-winning trainer told the Daily Telegraph: "I am doing everything I possibly can to get to the bottom of this.

"I've reported it to Thames Valley Police who, along with the BHA (British Horseracing Authority), were supportive in my offering a reward to see if this could take things forward.

"We have brought in one of the world's leading experts from America. We've found out through our own research that it cannot be a contamination issue with this particular drug and we have all but ruled out the slim chance she was producing it herself.

"We have carried out an extensive search around the stable. We questioned a possible flaw in the testing but a B sample sent to Paris also came back positive, along with our own hair sample.

"What on earth could I have to gain from this? Our Little Sister was a horse of limited ability, in a race with hardly any prize-money, and there was no unusual betting on it.

"Racing is my life. My reputationis everything. I might annoy a few people, but everyone knows my integrity is 100 per cent. I would never, ever do anything to besmirch the good name of the sport."

Our Little Sister raced once more, when down the field at Southwell on January 26, and has since been retired.

The Daily Telegraph said Morrison's yard was raided at dawn on February 3, when blood samples taken from all 77 horses, including Our Little Sister, returned negative results.

Morrison said: "She was away from the yard during the period that we suspect the substance was administered, when she was one of three runners we had at Southwell on January 2, a Bank Holiday Monday.

"She was left unattended for a significant time due to an injury to another of our runners.

"As the rules stand, the onus is on me as the licence holder to establish who administered an anabolic steroid to Our Little Sister.

"I have told the vast majority of my owners, who have been incredibly supportive and sympathetic.

"I employ 25 people directly, many of them living in the village, and it is causing enormous amount of distress to them as well as my family as I face the possibility of losing my licence and reputation."

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