Trainer Charles Byrnes has had his licence suspended for six months by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board after his runner, Viking Hoard, failed a drugs test post-race.

Viking Hoard was pulled up in a handicap hurdle at Tramore in October 2018.

A urine sample was found to contain hydroxyethylpromazinehydroxide (HEPS), a metabolite of acepromazine (ACP).

That breaches Rule 20(v) and Regulation R14 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules as ACP is a prohibited substance.

HEPS was found in high enough concentration to exceed the International Screening Limit (ISL).

The ISL is 10 nanograms/millilitre.

The estimated detected level in the urine sample was 1,000 nanograms/millilitre, or 100 times the applicable ISL.

ACP is a sedative which lasts up to six or seven hours after being administered.

Byrnes requested to have the 'B' sample analysed, which was carried out by LCH Laboratories in France and the adverse analytical finding for HEPS was confirmed.

He is appealing the decision by the IHRB.

Evidence was heard by a three-person referrals committee from IHRB chief veterinary officer and head of anti-doping Dr Lynn Hillyer, IHRB deputy head of security Declan Buckley, Byrnes, and veterinary surgeon Vincent O'Connor.

The committee also considered a report prepared by Dr Hillyer and Buckley of the investigation into the adverse analytical finding and also betting patterns relating to the matter.

In their ruling, the committee noted that the horse opened at a betting price of 4-1 in the morning and the price drifted thereafter. 

The starting price was 8-1.

The committee said they viewed a recording of the race and the gelding ran "conspicuously badly".

It received a reminder from the rider immediately after jumping the first hurdle according to the report.

The report stated: "The action or effect of ACP on the system of Viking Hoard was graphically illustrated by the poor performance of the gelding in the Tramore race."

It added that "Viking Hoard became rapidly detached from the rest of the field and was pulled up before the seventh hurdle".

The IHRB received alerts from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) relating to betting patterns on Viking Hoard.

These were based on information received from commercial betting exchanges, which allow for widespread betting against horses winning races.

In the report, it was not alleged that Byrnes was directly involved in either the administration of ACP or the betting patterns.

The committee did find that Byrnes was "seriously negligent" in the supervision of Viking Hoard on the day and added "it is incumbent on the trainer to arrange for and deploy adequate personnel and resources to specifically ensure that there is no unauthorised or unsupervised access to a competitor on race day".

Byrnes estimated that the gelding was left unattended for a total of between 20 and 25 minutes on the day of the Tramore race.

It was stated he had taken risks in discharging his responsibilities under the rules that resulted in an extremely serious outcome from the perspective of the IHRB.

The trainer stated he had not used ACP in his stable for many years and his stance on the matter is that he had nothing to do with the administration of the ACP to Viking Hoard or the betting patterns.

The committee were satisfied that Byrnes was in breach of Rule 96(a) as a prohibited substance was present in the sample taken from Viking Hoard at Tramore.

The Committee ordered that Byrnes' licence be withdrawn for a period of six months and fined €1,000.

When contacted by RTÉ Sport this afternoon, the trainer said he would not be commenting on the report, only to say he would be appealing the decision.