Contaminated horse feeds rule out Aidan O’Brien’s Arc runners

By Dan Walsh

World champion trainer and Wexford-man Aidan O’Brien has ruled out his four intended runners in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp today (Sunday)  after it was revealed on Friday that various batches of GAIN horse feeds, which O’Brien uses, had been found to be contaminated with a prohibited substance.

A Tweet on the official account of O’Brien’s Ballydoyle yard at 9.20pm last night, read: “Unfortunately the results of the urine samples taken from the horses yesterday have come back positive from the French laboratory.

CHAMPION TRAINER AIDAN O’BRIEN (Pic; Ballydoyle Facebook Page)

“There is a possibility that the contaminant may have left their racing by the time of racing tomorrow, however, we have no guarantee of this and in order to protect the integrity of racing we have decided to withdraw all our horses from racing tomorrow.

“Joseph and Donnacha O’Brien will do likewise.” became aware of difficulties for several local yards using Gain horse feeds and, as a consequence, many runners were taken out of race meetings and point-to-points in recent days.

GAIN Equine Nutrition had issued a statement on Thursday advising trainers to refrain from feeding horses its equine products, including its widely used cubes and mix, after it emerged some of its products have been contaminated with Zilpaterol.

That substance is unlicensed in Europe but is used in America and elsewhere to promote weight gain, mainly in cattle. The advisory came about after France Galop announced five horses had tested positive for Zilpaterol in recent weeks.

GAIN Equine is working closely with all appropriate agencies, including the Irish Department of Agriculture, to fully investigate the source of the contamination and says it will provide a more detailed update once more information is available.

Martin Ryan, Head of GAIN Equine, said: “We apologise sincerely to our valued customers for the inconvenience caused by this incident and we are committed to promptly keeping you fully informed. A thorough investigation and trace back of all feed ingredient sources is underway as a matter of urgency to determine how this external contaminant could have found its way into some batches of our equine product.”

GAIN Equine Nutrition is the equine feed brand of Glanbia and is located at Clonroche Mill, near Enniscorthy.

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