ERA Media Release - Mr Salem bin Ghadayer

The ERA Stewards opened an inquiry on Wednesday 26 May, 2021 into the medical records and treatment of horses trained by Mr Salem bin Ghadayer during the 2019/20 ERA racing season.

Evidence was taken from Mr Salem bin Ghadayer (Trainer at Fazza Stables), Dr Ignacio Amusquibar (Veterinarian at Fazza Stables) and Dr. Kieran Finn (ERA Regulatory Veterinarian) with the following matters established;
1. On Monday 30 March 2020, Mr Ghadayer 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 Thursday 2 April 2020, Fazza Stable medical records were provided to the ERA.
3. The ERA identified large periods of no recorded treatments or complete missing information relating to a number of horses in the provided medical records, therefore on Thursday 7 May 2020 Mr Ghadayer was requested to provide further information in relation to these queries.
4. Mr Ghadayer subsequently provided additional information and further medical records on Saturday 11 May, 2020.
5. On review of these medical records, Stewards identified the following discrepancies:
a. On Saturday 9 November 2019, DRESS COAT (GB) received an intra-articular injection of Dexamethasone Phosphate, which was five (5) clear days prior to the gelding racing at Jebel Ali on Friday 15 November, 2019.
b. On Friday 15 November 2019, ODYSSA (IRE) was recorded as receiving medical treatments the same day as competing at the Jebel Ali race meeting.
c. Large, unexplained gaps in medical records where Stewards would reasonably expect horses to have received treatment.
Inquiry 1 – DRESS COAT (GB)
6. Mr Ghadayer explained that he is aware and abides by the relevant Rule banning intra-articular joint injections and his stable does not administer Dexamethasone Phosphate to joints, preferring to only use intravenous injections for this medication. He added that the medication had been incorrectly recorded in the medical logbook as an intra-articular injection, rather than correctly recorded as an intravenous administration.
7. 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.
8. Dr Finn advised that the substance involved, Dexamethasone Phosphate, is a widely used veterinary treatment used for anti-inflammatory and joint dysfunction in horses suffering from degeneration and arthritis, by both intra-articular and intravenous routes.
9. Dr Finn advised that Dexamethasone Phosphate would be considered a Prohibited Substance if detected in a raceday swab sample, in addition to the procedure to inject it into the horse via intra-articular injection not being permitted within eight (8) clear days of racing, due to welfare concerns for the horse.
10. Dr Finn advised that DRESS COAT (GB) was not subjected to swabbing procedures at Jebel Ali on Friday 15 November, 2019.

Inquiry 2 – ODYSSA (IRE)
11. Medical records were tendered as evidence that on Friday 15 November 2019, the same day that the mare competed at Jebel Ali racecourse in the “Dubai Real Estate Centre Handicap” over 1600m, ODYSSA (IRE) received the following treatments via injection: Salix, Metacam, VAM and Pentasan.
12. Mr Ghadayer advised that subsequent to ODYSSA (IRE) racing at Jebel Ali he instructed Dr Amusquibar to provide the mare with its established pre-race routine treatments, as he intended racing her six days later at Meydan on Thursday 21 November, 2019. This resulted in the injections of Salix, Metacam, VAM and Pentasan occurring on return to the stable the night of the Jebel Ali race.
13. Dr Finn explained that each of the four drugs recorded as given to ODYSSA (IRE) are common therapeutic medications used in racing stables however their presence in a raceday swab sample would be considered as Prohibited Substances and therefore a breach of the ERA Rules of Racing.
14. Dr Finn added that ODYSSA (IRE) was not subjected to swabbing procedures at Jebel Ali on Friday 15 November, 2019.

Inquiry 3 – Missing Treatments
15. Stewards queried Mr Ghadayer into the reason for medical records for some horses in his stable containing lengthy periods of time (up to 5 months) where previously regular treatment practices employed by the stable were noticeably absent. Stewards pointed out that during these periods of no recorded treatments, these horses were in active work, were competing at race meetings and in advice provided by the stable to Stewards during the 2019/20 season, were at times withdrawn from race meetings on veterinary advice.
16. Mr Ghadayer acknowledged that large periods of apparent missing information existed, however could not explain why this had occurred.
17. Stewards informed Mr Ghadayer that prior to making a ruling on these inquiries, they would allow further time for the stable to attempt to procure more records and information to support the explanations tendered to the above queries and as a result adjourned the matter to a later date.

Conclusion
Stewards resumed the above inquiries on Tuesday 1 June, 2021.
18. Mr Ghadayer advised that he was unable to obtain further medical records to support his earlier explanations.
19. Stewards advised Mr Ghadayer that they had further examined the information he had provided in relation to comments and evidence provided at the initial inquiry.

Inquiry 1 – DRESS COAT (GB)
20. In relation to Mr Ghadayer’s assertion that his stable does not administer Dexamethasone Phosphate via intra-articular injection, and without further information to contradict otherwise, Stewards accepted this explanation. To support this decision it was noted that on the same day DRESS COAT (GB) was recorded as receiving treatment, a number of other horses had received the same treatment via intravenous injection and at no point during the 2019/20 season in Mr Ghadayer’s medical logbook history, had Dexamethasone Phosphate been recorded as being given via intra-articular injection.

Inquiry 2 – ODYSSA (IRE)
21. Stewards advised Mr Ghadayer that his explanation for the recorded raceday treatment of ODYSSA (IRE) would be accepted. Stewards pointed out to Mr Ghadayer that the treatment of ODYSSA (IRE) with Salix (furosemide, given to dehydrate a horse) while the mare was recovering from a race earlier that day was highly unusual. Mr Ghadayer was advised that although Stewards found his explanation was plausible, without further information they could not be satisfied to the requisite standard that a breach of the Rules of Racing had occurred and therefore took no further action.

Inquiry 3 – Missing Treatments
22. Stewards advised Mr Ghadayer that based on the detailed medical records provided to the Stewards, it was their opinion it was more probable than not that large gaps in his medical records were not due to horses not receiving treatment during those times, rather that treatments had occurred but had not been recorded as required under the Rules.

Mr Ghadayer pled guilty to a charge under the provisions of ERA Rule 31B(iv), in that he failed to maintain medical records of all medication, tonics and treatments to horses in his care and was fined AED 5,000.
Mr Ghadayer was advised of his right of appeal.

Relevant Rules:
ERA Rule 31B –
(iii) Trainers must maintain medical records at their stables for a period of two (2) years and have them available for inspection upon request by ERA Officials at any time.
(iv) Trainers who fail to maintain medical records or cannot produce the aforementioned records are guilty of an Offence.

ERA Rule 95AAA 9 –
(i) Notwithstanding the provisions of Rule 95AAA 1. no Person shall administer, or cause to be administered any Medication to a Horse on Race day prior to such Horse running in a Race.
(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 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.