Gordon Elliott faces inquiry after Champion Hurdle third tests positive
Gordon Elliott will face an independent disciplinary hearing on Wednesday after Zanahiyr tested positive for a banned substance after his third-placed finish in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last year.
Elliott’s runner, owned by the Bective Stud, tested positive post-race for 3-hydroxylidocaine after the premier hurdling race of the season and if found guilty could face disqualification by the independent panel at the British Horseracing Authority.
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Ridden by Jack Kennedy, the pair were beaten four and a lengths by Honeysuckle, with Epatante in second. In fourth place and set to benefit from any disqualification was the Willie Mullins-trained Saint Roi, like Epatante owned by JP McManus.
The substance in question, which is a metabolite of Lidocaine, is often used in racing stables as a local anaesthetic. In 2016, trainer Dermot Weld was fined by the Irish Turf Club after one of his horses failed a test for the substance.
Elliott missed the 2021 Cheltenham Festival after being served with a 12-month ban, with six months suspended, by the Irish racing authorities. He was found guilty of bringing the sport into disrepute after being pictured sitting on a dead horse.
Elliott has added his voice to trainers who have concerns over the introduction of the new whip rules, saying the consequences for jump racing’s two major festivals could be “frightening”. Regulations are set to come into force on 13 February, which include reducing how many times the whip can be used and a toughening up of the penalty structure.
Ludlow 1.25 Bo Zenith 1.55 Greenrock Abbey 2.30 Passionate Pursuit 3.00 Rose Sea Has 3.30 Notnowlinda 4.00 Crypto 4.30 Amrons Sage
Southwell 1.35 Templier (nap) 2.05 Here We Have It 2.40 Sorceress Medea 3.10 Book Of Secrets 3.40 Chosen Port 4.10 Roger Rarebit 4.40 Dev Of Tara
Kempton 5.30 Mr Inspiration 6.00 Elegant Ellen 6.30 Satin Snake 7.00 Greavsie 7.30 Golden Mayflower 8.00 Metier (nb) 8.30 Bella Colorossa
Elliott said: “To think it’s coming in only a couple of weeks before a massive festival, it’s frightening. Listening to Sean Bowen and a few of the lads in England, they’re having to change their style of riding. I don’t think it’s good, especially heading into Cheltenham.
“Someone was saying Davy Russell would have broken a rule riding Mighty Potter the other day and I’m not sure if he hit him more than two or three [times], but it was because his hand rose a certain height. I don’t know what’s going to happen.
“The jockeys are all going to have to do a lot of work on it, but it’s not really healthy going into Cheltenham.”