ERA Media Release - Mr Mujeeb Rahman

The ERA Stewards opened an inquiry on Wednesday 2 June, 2021 into reports from the Dubai Equine Forensic Unit that out-of-competition blood and urine samples taken from STORYBOARD (USA), trained by licenced Trainer Mr Mujeeb Rahman’s at “ARMS Racing Stables” had returned positive results to Stanozolol, and/or its metabolite 16-Beta Hydroxystanozolol, and that medical records obtained from Mr Rahman identified an intra-articular injection irregularity during the 2019/20 racing season.

Evidence was taken from Mr Mujeeb Rahman (Trainer), Dr. Kieran Finn (ERA Regulatory Veterinarian) and Dr Michael Subhahar (Chief Analyst, Dubai Equine Forensic Unit) with the following matters established;

Inquiry 1 – MANHUNTER (USA)
1. On Tuesday 5 May 2020, Mr Rahman was requested by the ERA Stewards to provide all medical records relating to horses trained by himself for the previous 2019/20 racing season.
2. The Stewards identified an entry in the medical records indicating that MANHUNTER (USA) received Hyvisc via intra-articular injections to both front fetlocks, on Sunday 15 December, 2019.
3. ERA race records show that MANHUNTER (USA) raced at Sharjah Racecourse on Saturday 21 December, 2019 in the “Longines Record Collection Handicap” over 1200 metres, where it finished fifth.
4. It was established that the intra-articular injections to MANHUNTER (USA) occurred five (5) clear days prior to racing at Sharjah.
5. Dr Finn advised that ERA Rule 95AAA 9, which stipulates eight (8) clear days are required between intra-articular injections and racing is common throughout international racing jurisdictions, and is designed to protect the welfare of the animal by preventing the horse running on damaged joints, either cloaked by the benefits of prohibited substances or shortly after receiving invasive veterinary treatment.
6. Dr Finn advised that the substance involved, Hyvisc, is a widely available veterinary treatment used for anti-inflammatory and joint dysfunction in horses suffering from degeneration and arthritis.
7. Dr Finn advised that Hyvisc is not a substance that is prohibited or tested for in swabbing, however the procedure to inject it into the horse (intra-articular injection) is not permitted within eight (8) clear days of racing, for welfare concerns for the horse.
8. Mr Rahman explained that MANHUNTER (USA) did not have an injury or condition that required intra-articular injections but rather the treatment was insisted upon by the owner of the gelding as a possible measure to benefit from in racing and training.
9. Mr Rahman advised that he was aware that a timeframe existed within the ERA Rules which stipulated horses could not race after receiving intra-articular injections and this was re-iterated to him by the treating veterinarian at the Sharjah Equine Hospital where STORYBOARD (USA) was treated, however he was unaware that it was eight (8) clear days.
10. Mr Rahman advised that when he entered MANHUNTER (USA) for the race meeting at Sharjah on Saturday 21 December, 2019 it did not occur to him that the gelding may be ineligible to race due to the recent intra-articular injections.

Mr Rahman pled guilty to a breach of ERA Rule 95AAA 9(ii):
• As the registered Trainer of MANHUNTER (USA) he caused that gelding to be administered a medication, namely Hyvisc, by way of intra-articular injection on Sunday 15 December, 2019, five (5) clear days prior to it racing at Sharjah racecourse on Saturday 21 December, 2019, which is contrary to the requirements of ERA Rule 95AAA 9(ii).

In determining the appropriate penalty in this case, the Stewards took into account the following factors:
• The circumstances of the offence;
• Nature of the breach, that being an intra-articular injection within the designated period prior to racing;
• The substances involved, being non-detectable treatments for joint degeneration;
• General and specific deterrence;
• The integrity and image of racing in the UAE;
• Mr Rahman’s forthright evidence and guilty plea.

Mr Rahman was fined the sum of AED 10,000 and advised of his rights of appeal.
Additionally Mr Rahman was advised that pursuant to ERA Rule 95AAA 11, MANHUNTER (USA) would be disqualified from its fifth placing in the “Longines Record Collection Handicap” 1200m at Sharjah on Saturday 21 December, 2019 with the following amendment made:

Finish Place Horse Name Trainer Jockey
1st DANGEROUS THOUGHT (USA) Doug Watson Sam Hitchcott
2nd MANKIND (FR) Helal Alalawi Szczepan Mazur
3rd ONE SEASON (IRE) Satish Seemar Antonio Fresu
4th NAAEEBB (USA) Ahmad bin Harmash Connor Beasley
5th RICH AND FAMOUS (USA) Salem bin Ghadayer Royston Ffrench

Inquiry 2 – STORYBOARD (USA)
11. On Monday 23 November, 2020 Dr Finn attended Mr Rahman’s stables for the purpose of inspecting MANHUNTER (USA) and clearing a Steward’s embargo that had been placed on that gelding.
12. While at the stables Dr Finn obtained Out-Of-Competition blood samples from three (3) horses in Mr Rahman’s name and under his care.
13. On Thursday 26 November, 2020 the Dubai Equine Forensic Unit advised Stewards that a blood sample taken from STORYBOARD (USA) had returned an irregularity to the substance Stanozolol.
14. Stewards and Dr Finn visited Mr Rahman’s licenced stable premises at the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club on Saturday 28 November, 2020 for the purpose of notifying Mr Rahman of the irregularity and obtaining urine samples from every horse in his care.
15. During the stable visit Mr Rahman could not explain the irregularity, advised that he was aware of Stanozolol and that it was an anabolic steroid, further advising Stewards that he had been absent from the UAE between 29 July and 11 October, 2020.
16. Mr Rahman immediately chose to have the reserve portion of the blood sample analysed by a separate laboratory, as is his right under the Rules of Racing.
17. On Thursday 10 December, 2020 Stewards advised Mr Rahman via a phone call that analysis of the urine sample collected on Saturday 28 November 2020 from STORYBOARD (USA) had returned an irregularity to Stanozolol and the metabolite 16-Beta Hydroxystanozolol. Mr Rahman again requested to have the reserve portion of this sample tested by a separate laboratory.
18. On Friday 8 January, 2021 the LGC Laboratory in the United Kingdom confirmed that the reserve portion of the blood sample taken from STORYBOARD (USA) contained Stanozolol.
19. On Thursday 13 January, 2021 the Racing Analytical Services Ltd laboratory in Australia confirmed that the reserve portion of the urine sample taken from STORYBOARD (USA) contained both Stanozolol and its metabolite 16-Beta Hydroxystanozolol.
20. Dr Finn explained that Stanozolol is an anabolic steroid which is banned under ERA Rule 95B2.(a)(v) and should not be present in a stable or racehorse at any stage.
21. Dr Finn added that Stanozolol increases muscle mass, increases appetite, alters behaviour characteristics and provides the body with a greater ability to recover from hard training, all providing an unfair advantage over other horses.
22. Dr Finn agreed that Stanozolol is considered a performance enhancing drug.
23. Dr Subhahar explained that the level of Stanozolol detected in the initial blood sample was of a high concentration and based on the recommended administration dose, he would expect STORYBOARD (USA) was treated within the previous seven (7) days of the sample being taken.
24. Mr Rahman advised that he was unaware of how Stanozolol came to have been administered to STORYBOARD (USA), with the gelding not requiring any recent veterinary hospital attendance, suffering any injuries or presenting with a reason why a drug of this type should be administered to it.
25. Mr Rahman explained that a decision was recently agreed upon between the owner of STORYBOARD (USA) and himself that the gelding would no longer be trained for racing and would instead remain in the stable to be used as a lead pony for a number of other horses.
26. Stewards acknowledge an entry in the stable diary on Wednesday 4 November, 2020 records STORYBOARD (USA) “…to be used only as a lead horse for…” however also note that at the time of both blood and urine samples being taken from STORYBOARD (USA) the gelding was recorded in Mr Rahman’s Stable Returns as a horse in training.
27. As of the date of the inquiry, Wednesday 2 June, 2021, STORYBOARD (USA) is still listed as a horse in training in Mr Rahman’s stable.

Mr Rahman pled guilty to the following charge under the provisions of ERA Rule 95B1:
• As the Trainer and/or Person in charge of STORYBOARD (USA) when a blood sample taken on Monday 23 November, 2020 and a urine sample taken on Saturday 28 November, 2020, upon analysis, were both found to contain Stanozolol, a substance listed under ERA Rule 95B2.(a)(v) – an anabolic steroid.

In determining the appropriate penalty in this case, the Stewards took into account the following factors:
• Nature of the breach, that being evidence of administration of a banned substance;
• The substance involved, being an anabolic steroid;
• The performance-enhancing capabilities of the substance;
• General and specific deterrence;
• The integrity and image of racing in the UAE;
• That no explanation as to how the horse came to be treated with the substance was presented;
• Mr Rahman’s guilty plea.

Mr Rahman was disqualified for a period of two (2) years to expire midnight Friday 2 June, 2023 and advised of his rights of appeal.

Additionally Mr Rahman was advised that under “ERA Policy 1”, STORYBOARD (USA) will not be permitted to race, trial or Official Trial until 12 months after the date that the initial blood sample was collected that detected the anabolic steroid, and only then after a negative urine result from the gelding has been analysed.

Stewards Panel:
Mr Taylor Wilson (Chairman), Mr Sam Shinsky and Mr Ajay Anne.

Relevant Rules:
ERA Rule 95AAA 9 –
(ii) Notwithstanding the provisions of Rule 95AAA 1. No Person shall administer, attempt or cause to be administered or use any medication by way of intra-articular (joint) injection to any Horse entered for a Race or Trial within eight (8) Clear Days of the commencement of the Race or Trial.

ERA 95AAA 11 –
Where it is established subsequent to a Horse competing in a Race, Test or Official Trial that the Horse had Raced in that Race or participated in that Test or trial and had received Medication, it may be disqualified from the Race or trial, or may be deemed to have failed that Test.

ERA 95AAA 12 –
For the purpose of this Rule, Medication means any treatment with drugs, Prohibited Substances or other substances.

ERA 95B 1 –
When a Sample taken at any time from a Horse evidences any of those substances referred to in Rule 95B2 the Trainer, Authorised Agent, or any other Person who was in charge of or having custody of the horse or having possession of such substance shall be liable to a Penalty.

ERA 95B2.(a) –
(v) – anabolic steroids.

ERA Policy 1 –
Upon the detection by an Approved Racing Laboratory of a sample from a horse indicating the presence of an anabolic steroid, or if the Stewards are of the view that it is likely that a horse has had an anabolic steroid administered to it, the Stewards rule that the horse is ineligible to start in any race or trial:
(a) for a minimum period of twelve (12) months from the date of the collection of the sample in which an anabolic steroid was detected; and
(b) only after the negative results for the presence of an anabolic steroid from an Accredited Racing Laboratory is provided to the ERA, in respect to a sample taken from the horse