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Flood warned off for two years in Mossmann Gorge doping affair.

Byline: By Graham Green

FORMER trainer David Flood lashed out at the Jockey Club last night after being warned off for two years over the Mossmann Gorge doping affair.

The former jumps jockey was found guilty of a string of charges at a reconvened inquiry, at which his ex-assistant, Hugh Taylor, received a nine-month ban.

Both can appeal, although Flood, who was told he could not seek employment in racing for 17 months, was scathing in his criticism of the disciplinary process.

Mossmann Gorge was an intended runner at Newmarket on July 24, 2005, but was withdrawn by the stewards after the veterinary officer reported the gelding had received an intravenous injection in the racecourse stables. The three-year-old later tested positive for bute.

Film from CCTV coverage of the stable showed only Flood and Taylor enter Mossmann Gorge's box between 12.51pm, when the gelding was led in, and 25 minutes later, when the veterinary technician discovered he had been injected.

On top of the positive drug test, the panel decided Flood had administered a prohibited substance with the intention of affecting Mossmann Gorge's performance, and that he had misled both the racecourse stewards and Jockey Club officials. Taylor was found guilty of similar charges.

Flood blasted: "It was a completely unfair hearing. In my opinion, all our evidence was completely disregarded. I was advised I would be found guilty and that has turned out to be true. I honestly believe the Jockey Club officials' agenda was to finish my career, because that is what they have effectively done.

"I found members of the panel cold-hearted, with no feeling for our story in any shape, way, or form. It' s very sad and a disgrace that something like this is allowed to happen when somebody's career, his right to earn a living and feed his family, can be taken off him because people who are in charge don't like you."

Asked if he intends to appeal, Flood said: "I have seven days to decide, but who am I appealing to? You've got a panel of three people, two of whom will be Jockey Club members, so how can I appeal to the same people who are going to do the same thing again?"

Taylor, who will appeal, said: "It was a disgrace to find me guilty on the evidence they had. It was a disgrace to ban me for nine months."

Flood relinquished his licence at Uplands in Lambourn eight days after the incident following a fall-out with patron Mark Serrell, whose wife Ruth's colours were carried by Mossmann Gorge.

He reapplied for a licence, but was informed it would not be considered until the disciplinary process had been completed. He has since been working as assistant to Kevin McAuliffe, who also employs Taylor.

Flood began training in August 2003 and saddled 35 winners in Britain and Ireland, earning close to pounds 300,000. Sprinter Jonny Ebeneezer was primarily responsible for raising his profile, which was further boosted last May when Im Spartacus landed a valuable York handicap before beating some of Ireland's then Derby prospects in the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes at The Curragh.

After the hearing, Jockey Club spokesman Paul Struthers said: "In the light of this case, and mindful of the importance of the integrity of the racecourse stabling area, we are considering bringing in rules that would allow us, in certain circumstances, the powers of search while on Jockey Club-licensed premises."

Mossmann Gorge, still owned by Mrs Serrell but now trained by Mark Wellings, won the seller at Southwell yesterday, having notched a similar success at the same course 12 days earlier, which coincided with the start of the inquiry.

Southwell report, page 23
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 8, 2006
Words:618
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