ERA Media Release - Mr Kareem Ramadan

The ERA Stewards opened an inquiry on Tuesday 1st March 2022, into the notification by the Dubai Equine Forensic Unit (EFU) regarding the presence of Cobalt being detected in a pre-race urine sample taken from SEA SKIMMER (GB) above the mass concentration of 100 micrograms per litre in urine, before it raced in Race 7 “Al Saad Handicap” over 2000 metres at Al Ain Racecourse on Saturday 8th January 2022.

Evidence was taken from Mr. Kareem Ramadan (Trainer of SEA SKIMMER (GB)), 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 Wednesday 19th January 2022, ERA Stewards were advised of the irregularity to Cobalt in respect to the pre-race urine sample taken from SEA SKIMMER (GB) at Al Ain Racecourse on Saturday 8th January 2022.
2. On Saturday 22nd January 2022, the ERA Stewards informed Mr. K Ramadan via a visit his stables at Al Ain Racecourse of the sample irregularity to SEA SKIMMER (GB). Mr. K Ramadan was unable to offer an explanation for the elevated level of Cobalt detected. Further, Stewards took samples from his available feed to analyse.
3. On Saturday 22nd January 2022, Mr. K Ramadan 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 Friday 18th February 2022, the ERA Stewards received confirmation from the Hong Kong Laboratory that the presence of Cobalt above the threshold was detected in the reserve urine sample of SEA SKIMMER (GB).
5. The samples of feed taken from the day of notification and additional grass collected on Saturday 5th February 2022, did not contain any irregular Cobalt levels that would have affected the level within SEA SKIMMER (GB).
6. Mr. K Ramadan was unable to explain the reason for the elevated level of Cobalt detected, with no record of any treatment to SEA SKIMMER (GB) or other horses in his stable being recorded in his Medical Logbook.
7. Dr. K Finn advised that Cobalt is a trace mineral naturally found in the earth’s crust and therefore found in many feeds, hence an international threshold has been set on the substance when analysed in race-day samples. It also makes up part of Vitamin B12. Cobalt can induce hypoxia like responses which can cause gene modulation at the hypoxia inducible factor pathway to induce erythropoietin transcription, the production of new red blood cells with the hope that extra red blood cells will carry more oxygen to working muscles and allow the horse to increase performance. When a concentration of Cobalt is found above the international threshold level in a race-day sample it is considered to be a positive sample. Further, the feeding regime advised by Mr. K Ramadan would not result in the elevated Cobalt level detected in SEA SKIMMER’s (GB) sample from Saturday 8th January 2022.

Trainer Mr. K Ramadan pleaded guilty to a charge under the provisions of ERA Rule 95AAA 2, in that he presented SEA SKIMMER (GB) to race in Race 7 “Al Saad Handicap” over 2000 metres at Al Ain Racecourse on Saturday 8th January 2022, which was subsequently found, upon analysis of a pre-race urine sample, to have had Cobalt administered to it, as evidenced by a concentration of Cobalt in excess of 100 micrograms per litre in urine.

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 Cobalt above the threshold level;
• 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 Cobalt;
• Mr. K Ramadan’s guilty plea and record in relation to the prohibited substance rules (see below).

Taking into account these circumstances, Mr. K Ramadan was disqualified for a period of 12 months, to commence midnight Tuesday 1st March, 2022 and to expire midnight Wednesday 1st March, 2023.

Pursuant to ERA 86(ii), SEA SKIMMER (GB) was disqualified as the winner of Race 7 “Al Saad Handicap” over 2000 metres at Al Ain Racecourse on Saturday 8th January 2022, and the placings adjusted to;

Finish Place Horse Name Trainer Jockey
1st TAKHTEET (USA) Bhupat Seemar Tadhg O’Shea
2nd ARABIAN MOON (GB) Helal Alalawi Gary Sanchez
3rd AUTUMN PRIDE (IRE) Helal Alalawi Al Moatasem Al Balushi
4th HONORABLE JUSTICE (USA) Salem bin Ghadayer Royston Ffrench
5th OBEYAAN (USA) Doug Watson Patrick Cosgrave

Mr. K Ramadan was advised of his rights of appeal.

Mr. K Ramadan’s record in relation to prohibited substances:
No prior breaches.

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 95AA – The ERA gives notice that the following substances are also deemed to be Prohibited Substances when presented above these thresholds:
* Cobalt at a mass concentration of 100 micrograms per litre in urine or 25 micrograms per litre in plasma

ERA Rule 95AAA 2 – Any Trainer or other Person in charge of a Horse, which is presented to Race or perform 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. Sam Shinsky (Chairman), Mr. Taylor Wilson, Mr. Dhahi Al Jallaf and Mr. Rashid Alblooshi (Trainee Steward).