Aidan O'Brien

By Andrew Atkinson 

Trainer Roger Varian withdrew his scheduled runners at Newmarket, Redcar and Wolverhampton on Saturday – amid potential contamination of feed.

The decision by Varian came in the wake of Ballydoyle based trainer Aidan O’Brien’s runners to participate at the Arc de Triomphe meeting at Longchamp on Sunday were unsure, amid France Galop announcing five horses had tested positive for the prohibited substance Zilpaterol.

The suspected source feed is manufactured by Gain Equine Nutrition. However, O’Brien’s two runners at Longchamp on October 3, Passion, in the Prix de Royallieu and Mythical, in the Prix Chaudenay, went to post after urine samples sent to the Irish Equine Centre proved to be clear.

O’Brien’s entries in Sunday’s Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe are yet to be confirmed.

Varian entered seven runners at Newmarket, Redcar and Wolverhampton, but withdrew all as a precaution.

“On Friday I was contacted by our feed supplier Gain and advised that a recent batch of their feed may have been contaminated.

“In light of this information we changed our feed with immediate effect on Friday afternoon, and have withdrawn our runners across the country this afternoon (Saturday) in order to take maximum precaution,” said Varian.

Batches of Gain horsefeeds have been found to be contaminated with a prohibited substance. O’Brien is amongst trainers who use Gain products.

Gain Equine Nutrition issued a statement advising trainers to refrain from feeding horses its equine products, including its widely used racehorse cubes and mix, after it emerged some of its products have been contaminated with Zilpaterol, which is unlicensed in Europe but is used in the US and elsewhere to promote weight gain, mainly in cattle.

“The two horses ran at Longchamp on Saturday as their urine samples, sent to the Irish Equine Centre, came back clear,” said O’Brien.

Ante-post favourite O’Brien trained Love was withdrawn from the Arc de Triomphe, due to the heavy going. O’Brien entries are Mogul, Japan, Sovereign and supplemented Serpentine.

“We won’t have the results of the samples taken for Sunday’s runners until Sunday morning as they have been sent to the lab in France.

“We’re doing everything we can do to make sure we’re as happy as we can be about the horses,” said O’Brien.

In a statement Gain said: “Until further investigations are completed, Gain customers are advised to refrain from feeding our equine products to their animals.

“The contaminant, Zilpaterol, is a synthetic beta-agonist approved for use as a performance-enhancer in some beef production systems outside of the EU. 

“It is important to stress that this synthetic substance has never formed part of any formulation in any of our animal nutrition.”

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