EAST ILSLEY trainer Hughie Morrison has offered a £10,000 reward for information that could clear the stable of doping allegations.
The British Horseracing Authority revealed on Thursday that the trainer had been charged with breaching anti-doping rules after traces of the anabolic steroid nandrolone were found in a sample from filly Our Little Sister after the horse had finished last in an all-weather track race at Wolverhampton on January 14.
Any doping would appear to be motiveless and profit-less as the outsider – without a win in its career – was not the subject of any unusual betting and was taking part in a minor race with a token prize find.
It has left the trainer anxious to clear his name of a charge that carries a ban of up to 10 years.
“I’ve got to leave no stone unturned,” said the trainer. “I’ve got to find the culprit to prove my innocence.
“I’m doing everything I can to get to the bottom of it. I’ve reported it to Thames Valley Police and I have offered a reward to see if this could take things forward.”
The trainer has produced more than 800 winners in his 21 years at the Summerdown stables but Our Little Sister is mot one of those, and is used primarily as a training horse for apprentice and novice jockeys.
The trainer has pinpointed the horse’s trip to Southwell in January as a potential source of what is likely to be an injection of the steroid.
"She was left unattended for a significant time due to an injury to another of our runners,” he said.
Before the revelation of the steroid afflicting the horse the stables were subject to a random drugs check when blood samples were taken from all 77 horses in the yard – including Our Little Sister - all of which were negative.
But the results from January 14 have since been released and Morrison has since consulted with doping experts from America, examined testing procedures and confirmed the result.
"What on earth could I have to gain from this?” he said. “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.
"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."
An appeal has been used to anyone who may have any information, and they can contact the BHA on its confidential helpline RaceStraight on 0800 085 2580 or via www.britishhorseracing.com/racestraight.