One of the most popular online horse betting events of the year came and went. But this year’s Champion Hurdle was not without controversy.
Yanworth, who betting sites had pegged as the favorite ahead of the Champion Hurdle, finished 7th overall in the race but it was the post-race doping results that drew the controversy. The steed, owned by JP McManus, tested positive for medication. The drugs in question are not exactly illicit in the online horse betting world, but stipulations require the medication to clear the system – or show absolutely no traces, on race day.
The Champion Hurdle was held at Cheltenham in March but this news reached betting sites very recently. Nevertheless, there will likely be some repercussions for Yanworth’s trainer Alan King, most likely in the form of some sort of fine in lieu of a suspension. The drug in question is triamcinolone acetonide (TCA), an anti-inflammatory drug.
For reference, Sir Bradley Wiggins, a British Olympic cyclist, used the cortisone substance in order to subdue allergies as well as respiratory problems after Wiggins received therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs). It’s not uncommon for athletes to obtain an exemption to use banned substances under a TUE if they do in fact have a legitimate medical need.
In the world of racebooks, competing horses are not prohibited from having the substance administered. However, as previously mentioned, the substance must have left the steeds’ system by the day of the race or races.
Despite testing positive for the aforementioned substance, Yanworth did not come out on top at Cheltenham. Rather, it was Buveur D’Air, who racebooks had pegged as the second overall online horse betting favorite. Buveur D’Air beat My Tent Or Yours for 1st, delivering a 1-2 for McManus and trainer Nicky Henderson.
Despite the revealing news about regarding a potential doping violation, Yanworth more or less redeemed himself at the Grand National meeting back in April. Yanworth competed in the Aintree Hurdle, which was a step up from two miles up to three. The 7-year old horse did not test positive for any substances following that climatic victory.
Following the revealing news regarding the TCA violation, several news outlets have reached out to McManus’ racing manager, Frank Berry, but Berry has refused to comment on the situation.
TCA violations aren’t uncommon in the world of online horse betting. Last year’s Cheltenham Festival Winner Any Currency also tested positive for the substance following his win. That mishap culminated in the steed being stripped of his victory at Glenfarclas Chase, although his trainer, Martin Keighley, was not fined and suffered no penalty.
However, this particular does raise some questions considering it’s not the first time that a King-trained horse has tested positive for the same substance. In October of 2015, King was hit with a 1,000 Euro fine at Kempton after Midnight Cataria tested positive for TCA. Additionally, the horse was disqualified from her second place finish.
We’ll have to wait and see what comes out of this violation this time around.