ERA Media Release - Mr Hamza Al Hamida

On Tuesday 5 April 2022 the ERA Stewards inquired into a notification by the Dubai Equine Forensic Unit that the pre-race urine sample taken from PERSIAN EMPIRE (IRE), before competing at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Saturday 29 January 2022 in the “Dubai Real Estate Centre” Maiden over 1200m, had detected the prohibited substance Heptaminol.

Evidence was taken from Mr Hamza Al Hamida (Trainer of PERSIAN EMPIRE (IRE)), Adnan Al Hamida (Assistant Trainer), Dr. Kieran Finn (ERA Regulatory Veterinarian) and Dr. Michael Subhahar (Chief Analyst – Dubai Equine Forensic Unit). The following matters were established during the inquiry;
1. On Tuesday 8 February 2022, ERA Stewards were advised of the irregularity to Heptaminol in respect to the pre-race urine sample taken from PERSIAN EMPIRE (IRE) at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Saturday 29 January 2022.
2. On Thursday 10 February 2022, Mr H Al Hamida attended the ERA offices and in the presence of his Assistant Trainer Mr Adnan Al Hamida and stable veterinarian Dr Aliaa Mashaly, was informed by the ERA Stewards of the sample irregularity. Mr H Al Hamida was unable to explain the presence of Heptaminol returned in PERSIAN EMPIRE (IRE).
3. During this meeting Mr H Al Hamida advised that he wished to exercise his right to have the reserve portion of the sample analysed by another accredited racing laboratory in accordance with ERA Rule 95D(ii).
4. On Tuesday 1 March 2022, the ERA received from the Dubai Equine Forensic Unit results of a sample of hay provided by Mr Al Hamida, to be tested for the presence of Heptaminol. The results of this testing found the hay to contain no traces of Heptaminol.
5. On Friday 4 March 2022, the ERA Stewards received confirmation from the Hong Kong Jockey Club that the presence of Heptaminol was detected in the reserve sample of PERSIAN EMPIRE (IRE).
6. Previous evidence from Dr K. Finn and Dr M. Subhahar stemming from a recent inquiry involving the same parties, also involving Heptaminol, was agreed as relevant and included as accepted evidence in this inquiry.
7. Mr Al Hamida was again unable to explain the reason for Heptaminol being found in the sample provided by PERSIAN EMPIRE (IRE). The stable’s medical logbook did not have any evidence of Heptaminol containing substances being administered to PERSIAN EMPIRE (IRE).

Trainer Mr Al Hamida pled guilty to a charge under the provisions of ERA Rule 95AAA 2, in that he presented PERSIAN EMPIRE (IRE) to race at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Saturday 29 January 2022, in the “Dubai Real Estate Centre” Maiden over 1200m, which was subsequently found, upon analysis of a pre-race urine sample, to have had Heptaminol administered to it, a prohibited substance under the ERA Rules of Racing.

In determining an appropriate penalty, the Stewards considered a number of factors including:
• The circumstances of the offence;
• The seriousness of the offence, involving the presentation of Heptaminol;
• That Heptaminol is considered to be a therapeutic substance;
• General and specific deterrence;
• The integrity and image of racing in the UAE;
• Previous penalties imposed for offences under ERA Rule 95AAA 2 in relation to Heptaminol;
• Mr H. Al Hamida’s guilty plea and record in relation to the prohibited substance rules (see below).

Taking into account these circumstances Mr H. Al Hamida was fined AED 40,000 which must be cleared before the ERA accepts any licence application from him in the future. Further Mr Al Hamida was advised that his record into prohibited substances was now at a point where should another breach occur, Stewards must consider whether his licence to train would be reviewed.

Pursuant to ERA 86(ii), PERSIAN EMPIRE (IRE) was disqualified from tenth (10th) position in the “Dubai Real Estate Centre” Maiden over 1200m at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Saturday 29 January 2022, and the placings adjusted accordingly.

Mr. H Al Hamida’s s record in relation to prohibited substances:

• January 2020 pleaded guilty to race-day administration of B12 and returning a positive sample to Cobalt. Disqualified for 18-months.
• January 2022 pleaded guilty to presenting a horse to race with a prohibited substance in its system (Heptaminol). Fined AED 40,000.

Relevant Rules:
ERA 86(ii) – Where any declared runner has been the subject of an examination under the Rules 8(vi) and or (vii) and has been found to have received a Prohibited Substances, the Horse shall be disqualified from the Race and from other Races as the ERA determines.

ERA Rule 95AAA 2 – Any Trainer or other Person in charge of a Horse, which is presented to Race or performed a Test, or has Raced or performed a Test which is found (upon analysis) to have had administered to it a Prohibited Substance, shall be liable to a Penalty.

ERA Rules 95D(ii) – Upon the detection by an Accredited Racing Laboratory of a Prohibited Substance in the Sample from a Horse, such laboratory shall notify its finding to the Stewards, who shall then notify the Trainer of the Horse of such finding and give him the option to have the reserve portion of the Sample Tested at another ERA-approved Accredited Racing Laboratory. The Trainer will have 3 days to notify the Stewards of such requirement. A refusal by the Trainer to Test the reserve portion of the Sample shall not prevent the Stewards from having the reserve portion of the Sample Tested.

Stewards Panel:
• Mr Taylor Wilson (Chairman), Mr Sam Shinsky, Mr Dhahi Al Jallaf & Mr Rashid Alblooshi (Trainee Steward).