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ERA Media Release - Mr Mahmood Hussain

The ERA Stewards opened an inquiry on Tuesday 15th June 2021, 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 PINTER (GB) above the mass concentration of 100 micrograms per litre in urine, before it raced in Race 4 “Gulf News Handicap” over 1600 metres at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday 30th January 2021.

Evidence was taken from Mr. Mahmood Hussain (Trainer of PINTER (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 Monday 8th February 2021, ERA Stewards were advised of the irregularity to Cobalt in respect to the pre-race urine sample taken from PINTER (GB) at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday 30th January 2021.
2. On Wednesday 10th February 2021, the ERA Stewards informed Mr. M Hussain via a visit his Al Khajha Stables of the sample irregularity to PINTER (GB). Mr. M Hussain was unable to offer an explanation for the elevated level of Cobalt detected. Further, Stewards confiscated two unlabeled products that were present in the feed room for analysis.
3. On Wednesday 10th February 2021, Mr. M Hussain 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 Wednesday 3rd March 2021, 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 PINTER (GB).
5. Mr. M Hussain advised that all horses in his stable were receiving the same feeding and supplement regime after a gallop and before racing.
6. 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 a supplement regime advised by Mr. M Hussain would not result in a Cobalt level detected in PINTER’s (GB) sample from Saturday 30th January, 2021.
7. Mr. M Hussain explained that the unlabeled products confiscated from his stable were brought to his stable by an owner. He advised the owner that he would not use the products, however failed to remove the products from his stable. The Equine Forensic Unit did not detect any prohibited substances in the confiscated products, however Stewards reminded Mr. M Hussain that if the products contained any substances referred to in ERA Rule 95B 2. (Out-of-competition) he would be liable to a penalty for being in possession of such substances.

Trainer Mr. M Hussain pleaded guilty to a charge under the provisions of ERA Rule 95AAA 2, in that he presented PINTER (GB) to race in Race 4 “Gulf News Handicap” over 1600 metres at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday 30th January 2021, 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. M Hussain’s guilty plea and record in relation to the prohibited substance rules (see below).

Taking into account these circumstances, Mr. M Hussain was disqualified for a period of 12 months, to commence midnight Tuesday 15th June, 2021 and to expire midnight Wednesday 15th June, 2022.

Pursuant to ERA 86(ii), PINTER (GB) was disqualified from 10th position in Race 4 “Gulf News Handicap” over 1600 metres at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday 30th January 2021, and the placings adjusted accordingly.

Mr. M Hussain was advised of his rights of appeal.

Mr. M Hussain’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 and Mr. Ajay Anne.