Drugs test set to deny trainer Festival victory

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TRAINER Martin Keighley is set to be stripped of his first and only Cheltenham Festival triumph after his stable star Any Currency tested positive for prohibited substances.

The 13-year-old gave Yorkshire-born Keighley his first success at the biggest jumps meeting of the year when finally winning the unique cross-country test in March after twice finishing runner-up.

The horse then went on to win a Cheltenham handicap chase in April for a third course win.

However, Any Currency – ridden by Aidan Coleman – looks like being stripped of his Festival victory after triamcinolone acetonide (TCA) and its hydroxylated metabolite were found in a urine sample taken after the race.

The British Horseracing Authority will stage a hearing at a date yet to be arranged.

TCA can be legitimately used for horses in training for various therapeutic purposes, but it is a prohibited substance on race days, which means it must not be present in a horse’s system.

Should Any Currency lose the race, runner-up Josies Orders, trained by Enda Bolger and ridden by Nina Carberry, will be promoted into first place. Keighley, who trains near Cheltenham, declined to comment.

Rookie trainer David Loughnane hopes a big run from Nonno Giulio at Beverley today can act as a launchpad for the biggest week of his fledgling career.

Based at David O’Meara’s old yard in Nawton, victory on the Westwood would also provide a timely lift for Loughnane who has Royal Ascot aspirations next week with stablemate Earth Drummer.

Loughnane said: “Nonno Giulio won really well at Wetherby last time and the ground should again be perfect for him. It’s a good race, but we’d like to think he’ll go well.”