By Conor Kane
A KILOGRAM of anabolic steroids was found at trainer Philip Fenton’s yard during an inspection in 2012, a court in County Tipperary heard on Thursday.
At the brief hearing – the eighth time the matter had been in court – a full day was set aside on October 23 to hear the case against Fenton, who faces eight charges brought by the Department of Agriculture and Food, which conducted the inspection in January, 2012. Judge Terence Finn accepted jurisdiction, which means the hearing will take place in the district court rather than moving to a higher court.
The trainer attended the hearing and sat at the side of the courtroom with his solicitor Declan Molan.
State solicitor Paul Fitzpatrick said the charges arise from an inspection by the Department at Fenton’s yard on January 18, 2012. Fitzpatrick said a kilogram of Nitrotain, an anabolic steroid, was allegedly found at the yard as well as a 20ml bottle of Ilium Stanabolic, also an anabolic steroid.
The trainer was also allegedly in possession of antibiotics for which he did not have veterinary prescriptions, required under the relevant legislation.
The state solicitor said a file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, whose view was that it was a matter for the state prosecutor to deal with, and that it could proceed in the district court, subject to the judge’s view.
Fitzpatrick said the State will have about eight witnesses and he expected the case to take about a day, he said.
Johnny Walsh, barrister for Fenton, agreed with that timescale and said he did not think the defence would be extending it beyond a day.
Judge Finn adjourned the case until next month’s hearing.
The charges against Fenton include allegations he was illegally in possession of Nitrotain, which contains the anabolic steroid ethylestrenol and is reported to improve the muscle mass, strength and stamina of horses.
They also include the alleged possession of Ilium Stanabolic, which contains the anabolic steroid stanozolol. Four of the charges allege Fenton had possession of prescription-only medicines for horses, without having any vet’s prescriptions for the medication, when the Department of Agriculture inspection took place.
Turf Club officials have been attending the court hearings and the case is also being monitored by the BHA, although neither of the regulatory bodies have any official role in the court proceedings.
Fenton’s horses, including Dunguib and Last Instalment, both of whom are now retired, were allowed to run at the Cheltenham Festival in March after the charges against him became public, following an investigation by the BHA which found no evidence of the administration of illegal substances. That inquiry included the taking of samples from horses in the trainer’s yard.