Coolmore and horse trainer Aidan O’Brien sue Glanbia over contaminated feed
Posted on 25th May 2022 at 19:12
High Court case centres on banned substance that forced horses out of October 2020 race meeting
Stud farm Coolmore and horse trainer Aidan O’Brien are suing an animal feed supplier over a banned substance in contaminated feed that forced its horses out of a prestigious race meeting.
Mr O’Brien, his son Donnacha and eight companies linked to the Tipperary-based Coolmore Stud-Ballydoyle Stables operation, one of the world’s most successful horse breeding and racing enterprises, issued High Court proceedings against Glanbia Foods Ireland on Tuesday.
The contaminated feed at the centre of the legal action taken by Coolmore and O’Brien rocked the horseracing world in the autumn of 2020 when it led to horses being pulled from races.
Eleven horses trained at Ballydoyle were forced out of Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe meeting at Longchamp in France, one of Europe’s top racing events, in October 2020 after the banned substance Zilpaterol was found in their systems by a French lab before they were due to race.
Traces of the drug, which is used to fatten cattle in the United States but banned in Europe, were initially detected in urine samples from racehorses in France and were linked to a contaminated batch of feed in the Gain Equine Feed product, owned and sold by Glanbia.
The contamination was blamed on molasses used in the manufacture of the feed. The French horse racing authority France Galop detected traces of the substance in horses at the time.
Spokesmen for both Coolmore-Ballydoyle and Glanbia told The Irish Times that they could not comment as the matter was the subject of High Court proceedings.
Glanbia Foods Ireland, which trades as Glanbia Agribusiness, took a legal action against ED&F Man Liquid Products Ireland in March, claiming that the molasses supplied for the feed contained the performance-enhancing substance. It claims it lost €9 million over the contaminated feed.
Glanbia Agribusiness is no longer part of Glanbia plc, the publicly quoted nutrition group as it is now fully owned by Glanbia Co-op after it bought out the listed company’s 40 per cent stake.
ED&F, an international supplier of the molasses feed ingredient, issued an “urgent action and recall notice” to Glanbia Agribusiness on October 10th, 2020, telling the company that the products are “suspected of containing minute traces of the substance Zilpaterol.”
In March, ED&F did not object to Glanbia’s legal action against it being admitted to the Commercial Court, the fast-track division of the High Court that handles business disputes.
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