Top trainer banned and horses pulled from racing with immediate effect after High Court ruling


CHELTENHAM Festival-winning trainer Tony Martin has been banned and his horses pulled from racing with immediate effect after a High Court ruling.

Irish handler Martin was initially suspended for six months and fined £9,500 over a positive drugs test last December.

Former Cheltenham Festival-winning trainer Martin has been banned with immediate effectSportsfile – Subscription

However, that ban was halved and he later requested a review of the punishment – only for a judge to rule against it on Thursday morning, report the Racing Post.

Martin, who won the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase with Dun Doire at the 2006 Festival, will now be barred from having runners until August.

All of his horses, including Presenting Max who was 4-1 to win at Perth today, have been scratched.

The case centred around Firstman, who tested positive for lidocaine – a cutting agent in cocaine – after winning a 2m handicap at Dundalk in January 2023.

That horse was due to run at Leopardstown on Friday.

Martin had a winner at Chester’s big May meeting last week in the form of the William Buick-ridden Alphonse Le Grande, who captured the Plate at 17-2.

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He had the runner-up too with 5-1 Hamsiyann, resulting in a near-£40,000 payday.

While 11-1 Zanndabad was third in the Chester Cup under former Derby-winning jockey Richard Kingscote.

That finish was worth another £20,000.

Lidocaine is used to block pain and is a banned substance on racedays.

During a Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board hearing, Martin said the finding could have come about from contaminated paper bedding at Dundalk when Firstman was stabled there.

This was rejected by the panel, while an inspection of his stables the following month could not identify the source of the substance.

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Hair and blood samples were taken from nine horses and there were no positive results.

The IHRB could not determine how the horse came to test positive.

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