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Stephen and Michael McConville face BHA charges

Stephen and Michael McConville face BHA charges

The long-running saga over the withdrawal of Anseanachai Cliste in the hours before the Foxhunters at the Cheltenham Festival last March looks set to be drawing to a close after the British Horse Racing Authority announced that the horses owner and trainer, Michael and Stephen McConville would have to answer a number of charges at a BHA disciplinary panel hearing later this month.

The nine-year-old joined the McConville’s Armagh yard following a short but unsuccessful spell pointing in the UK, however he proved to be a revelation between the flags here for them, winning seven consecutive races from Armagh to Kinsale in the spring of 2016 on his way to being crowned champion point-to-pointer.

Re-appearing in the hunt race at Armagh in Febraury, Anseanachai Cliste was the subject of much discussion in the build-up to the Festival, surrounding whether or not his track rating would be high enough to ensure him a place in the line-up.

Whilst getting a place in the final field, his participation took a bizarre twist in the hours before the race when the stewards took the very unusual decision of ordering his withdrawal from the race with the BHA report after the discovery of a blood-covered syringe stating they: "could not be satisfied that the horse had been administered only normal feed and water on race day".

The father and son team will answer a number of charges at the hearing in London on September 19th after it was announced by the BHA that Anseanachai Cliste, whom they owned and trained was found to have cobalt, a prohibited substance.

Both face charges over allowing or causing the administration, or conniving in the administration of prohibited substances, having such items in their possession on a racecourse, on a race day and attempting to obstruct the proper administration or control of racing specifically by deliberately misleading, or endeavoring to mislead stewards and/or a BHA employee.

Michael McConville will also have to answer whether he failed to act in the interests of the horse's best health and welfare by administering substances, namely Adrenal Cortex, without veterinary consultation or advice.

For his part, Stephen McConville has to answer if he was complicit in assisting, aiding and/or engaging the responsible person (his son) for the horse in violations of the equine anti-doping rules.

After being withdrawn from the Cheltenham Foxhunters, Anseanachai Cliste was allowed the authorities here to run at Downpatrick later that month where he ran out victorious in the Ulster National. The Bach gelding has since run again at Downpatrick and Kelso without making the placings on either occasions.
 
Turf Club Chief Executive Denis Egan has previously confirmed that the horse’s sample tested negative when examined in Ireland and France after his Downpatrick success, whilst all Irish point-to-point winners are tested.


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