ERA Media Release - Mr Nicholas Bachalard

The ERA Stewards opened an inquiry on Monday 3 May, 2021 into the medical records and treatment of TOBRAVE (IRE) trained by Mr Nicholas Bachalard.

Evidence was taken from Mr Nicholas Bachalard (Trainer) and Dr. Kieran Finn (ERA Regulatory Veterinarian) with the following matters established;
1. On Sunday 19 April 2020, Mr Bachalard was requested by the ERA Stewards to provide all medical records relating to horses trained by himself, for the previous 2019/20 ERA racing season.
2. On review of the medical records, Stewards identified the following intra-articular (joint) injections had been given to TOBRAVE (IRE):
a. Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein (IRAP) on Friday 22 November, 2019, six (6) clear days prior to racing at Jebel Ali on Friday 29 November, 2019 in Race 1 “Dubai Real Estate Maiden 1400m”, where the gelding placed fifth.
b. Hyvisc on Friday 13 December, 2019, seven (7) clear days prior to racing at Sharjah on Saturday 21 December, 2019, in Race 6 “Longines Record Collection Handicap 1200m”, where the gelding finished thirteenth.
3. Mr Bachalard explained that he was aware the ERA Rules stipulate a certain clear day time period for intra-articular injections, however on advice from his vet he was under the mistaken assumption that the period was of seven (7) clear days prior to racing, instead of the correct eight (8) clear days.
4. Dr Finn advised that the pertinent ERA Rule relating to the number of clear days 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.
5. Dr Finn advised that the substances involved, IRAP and Hyvisc, are widely used veterinary treatments used for anti-inflammatory and joint dysfunction in horses suffering from degeneration and arthritis.
6. Dr Finn advised that both IRAP and Hyvisc are not substances that are prohibited or tested for in swabbing, however the procedure to inject them into the horse (intra-articular injection) is not permitted within eight (8) clear days of racing, for welfare concerns for the horse.

Mr Bachalard pled guilty to the following breaches of ERA Rule 95AAA 9(ii):
• As the registered Trainer of TOBRAVE (IRE) you caused that gelding to be administered a medication, namely IRAP, by way of intra-articular injection on Friday 22 November, 2019, six (6) clear days prior to it racing at Jebel Ali racecourse on Friday 29 November, 2019, which is contrary to the requirements of ERA Rule 95AAA 9(ii).
• As the registered Trainer of TOBRAVE (IRE) you caused that gelding to be administered a medication, namely Hyvisc, by way of intra-articular injection on Friday 13 December, 2019, seven (7) 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 Bachalard’s forthright evidence and guilty plea.

Mr Bachalard was fined the sum of AED 10,000 on each charge (total AED 20,000) and advised of his rights of appeal.

Additionally Mr Bachalard was advised that pursuant to ERA Rule 95AAA 11, TOBRAVE (IRE) would be disqualified from its fifth placing in the “Dubai Real Estate Maiden 1400m”at Jebel Ali on Friday 29 November, 2019 with the following amendments made:
Finish Place Horse Name Trainer Jockey
1st DIRILIS ERTUGRUL (USA) Ismail Mohammed Fabrice Veron
2nd CELTIC PRINCE (GB) Rashed Bouresly David Liska
3rd DUBAI FEVER (USA) Mujeeb Rahman Patrick Cosgrave
4th KALAMAZOO (USA) Mahmood Hussain Royston Ffrench
5th COMPLIANCE (IRE) Helal Alalawi Connor Beasley

TOBRAVE (IRE) was also disqualified from the “Longines Record Collection Handicap 1200m” at Sharjah on Saturday 21 December, 2019.
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.

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