BHA confirms Fenton visit
The British Horseracing Authority has confirmed that officials visited Philip Fenton's stables in Ireland on Wednesday to carry out tests on the County Tipperary trainer's Cheltenham entries, including Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Last Instalment.
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The BHA also interviewed Fenton, who is set to appear at a County Tipperary court on March 20 to answer charges brought about by the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine following an inspection of his yard on January 18, 2012.
Following consultation with the Irish Turf Club, it had been agreed that samples from Fenton's horses will be collected by the BHA and fast-track testing will take place at HFL Sport Science, Newmarket, with the results of the tests available next week.
The visit was part of an ongoing process of gathering all relevant information regarding the issue.
It is intended that blood and hair samples are taken for testing, with substances able to be detected in hair samples for a greater period of time than is the case with either blood or urine.
It is understood negative samples would not automatically mean the horses would be allowed to run at Cheltenham, should other issues arise as part of the BHA trip.
The Irish Courts Service served a summons notice that Fenton has been served with a series of charges in relation to animal remedies.
Should he be found guilty, punishments range from a maximum fine of 5,000 euro to a six-month term of imprisonment.
The case was adjourned after a brief hearing last Thursday after which one of Fenton's leading owners Barry Connell announced he would not run any of his horses based with the trainer at Cheltenham, headed by dual Grade One-winning novice hurdler The Tullow Tank.