Bobby Zen

Billionaire Luke Comer lost an appeal against the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board to overturn a three-year-suspension of his training license, the organization confirmed in a statement Thursday. The suspension is scheduled to begin July 15. The three-person appeals body was chaired by Justice Peter Kelly in addition to Laurence McFerran and Dr. Paddy Molony.

Suspended last September, the trainer was ordered to pay in excess of €750,000 in fines and legal costs after traces of the prohibited substances methandienone (MD) and methyltestosterone (MT) were found in 12 of his horses. Chief among them was He Knows No Fear, who finished fourth at Leopardstown in October of 2021 before testing positive with 11 other horses during a raid on his barn the following month. He Knows No Fear previously won a Leopardstown maiden at odds of 300-1 in 2020.

The conditioner was fined €5,000 in relation to He Knows No Fear’s positive test and an additional €5,000 for each of the 11 other horses.

Comer, who “maintains he is not guilty of any misconduct,” was also found to have acted in “a manner which is prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct or good regulation of horseracing,” for which he was fined €20,000 based on the large number of horses which tested positive and the “reputational damage” to the sport.

Comer’s appeal against prejudicial conduct was subsequently dismissed, however, the finding and the €20,000 fine were lifted. His appeal in respect of supplying misleading information in his witness statement was allowed. The €5,000 penalty was also set aside.

The IHRB had lodged its own appeal against what it called the leniency of the original referrals committee penalties. That was also dismissed.

Comer had limited success regarding the cost of the appeal, as outlined by the appeals body in its statement.

“The areas where he was successful took up only a small part of the time of the appeal. A generous allowance in that regard would be 15 per cent.”

“He also defeated the appeal of the IHRB on leniency. But that took up a minuscule amount of time and even if he were awarded his costs in respect of that, it would be a bagatelle in the overall context.

“In all the circumstances we are provisionally of the view that the justice of the case is met by directing Mr. Comer to pay 75 per cent of the costs of the appeal to the IHRB.”


The post Trainer Luke Comer Fails in Appeal Against Suspension appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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