O’Brien Family Runners Withdrawn From Sunday’s Arc Card Due To Zilpaterol Positives, Possible Feed Contamination

A total of 11 horses trained by Aidan, Joseph, and Donnacha O’Brien will be withdrawn from Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe card at Longchamp after a French lab returned positive urine samples for the banned substance Zilpaterol, Racing Post reports.

Four of the O’Brien runners – Mogul, Japan, Sovereign and Serpentine – were set to test Enable in the Group 1 Arc. Fancy Blue, a leading contender for the G1 Prix de l’Opera trained by Donnacha O’Brien, will also scratched.

The withdrawals were announced after Gain Equine Nutrition advised customers to stop using its feed after some batches were found to have been contaminated with Zilpaterol, a substance that’s unlicensed in Europe, but is used in the U.S. and elsewhere, primarily to promote weight gain in cattle.

Urine samples from the O’Brien horses were cleared by the Irish Equine Centre, but Aidan O’Brien told Racing Post that a difference in testing methods between the Irish and French laboratories might have produced different results. O’Brien said the Irish test is primarily used to find the drug in cattle, instead of horses.

The Zilpaterol contamination had already caused five positives in France over the past few weeks, and trainer Roger Varian, who also uses Gain products, scratched all seven of his British runners on Saturday, as well.

In 2013, feed made in a California mill and contaminated with Zilpaterol caused a rash of positives in that state, and reached as far as Hong Kong when the feed shipped overseas.

Gain is one of the most widely-used feeds in England and Ireland, meaning a large portion of their racing populations could be exposed to the contaminated feed. However, Racing Post reports that John Gosden, trainer of top Arc contender Enable, does not feed Gain products, thus the mare is not at a risk to scratch due to the contamination.

A statement from the Ballydoyle Twitter account on Saturday read:

“Unfortunately, the results of the urine samples taken from the horses yesterday have come back positive from the French laboratory. There is a possibility that the contaminant may have left their system by the time of racing tomorrow, however we have no guarantee of this, and in order to protect the integrity of racing, we have decided to withdraw all our horses from racing tomorrow. Joseph and Donnacha O’Brien will do likewise.”

Read more at Racing Post.

Learn more about zilpaterol here and learn about feed contamination from this 2015 Paulick Report feature.

The post O’Brien Family Runners Withdrawn From Sunday’s Arc Card Due To Zilpaterol Positives, Possible Feed Contamination appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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