Racing: Pipe fined £7,500 following dope-test protest

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The Independent Online

Martin Pipe has received a hefty slap on the wrist from the Jockey Club and a heavier warning after his refusal to allow one of his horses to be dope-tested at Haydock a week ago.

Martin Pipe has received a hefty slap on the wrist from the Jockey Club and a heavier warning after his refusal to allow one of his horses to be dope-tested at Haydock a week ago.

The 14-times champion trainer would not let Tanterari, who had just finished last of five, into the designated dope-testing box because of his fears over the spread of infection.

After a hearing in London yesterday, Pipe was fined £7,500 by the Jockey Club's disciplinary panel and warned that any repeat of the offence could result in the suspension of his training licence.

Pipe made a full apology for the incident, and since his summons his horses selected for routine testing have gone into the testing box. "My protest was hamfisted," Pipe admitted. "I should have gone about it better. But in the end I'll be happy if some good does come out of it, for the welfare of horses and ultimately the benefit of racing.

"I had a fair hearing and if this has brought a consultation about looking into the problems arising from not sterilising the sampling box before and after each horse comes in, then there is something in it. I should have probably gone about it a different way - I'm probably at fault."

The Tanterari case had been the third time that Pipe had refused to let a horse go into the official testing box - the other two had been tested in their own racecourse stable at Sandown and Lingfield - and the Jockey Club accepted that the trainer's stance had been to make a point rather than for any devious motive.

"We were not suggesting that he was trying to conceal a prohibited substance," said spokesman John Maxse, "but this sort of practice would set a dangerous precedent."

Only a week earlier, Pipe had been fined £3,000, then the most severe punishment of his glittering career, over the running and riding of one of his charges, the hurdler Celtic Son.

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