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I’m heartbroken – I had the biggest win of my career worth £60,000 stripped from me after a failed drugs test

A DEVASTATED racehorse trainer has revealed his pain after being stripped of the biggest win of his career – after a failed drugs test.

Ben Clarke scooped the £60,000 Grand National Trial with 9-2 favourite The Galloping Bear at Haydock last February.

But the stable star horse was disqualified and stripped of the win after returning a post-race sample of a banned substance.

New trainer Clarke, who has 15 horses in training at his Dorset base, was also fined £1,000 for the breach.

The Galloping Bear returned a sample containing dantrolene, a paste used to alleviate muscle problems.

A subsequent B sample confirmed the finding, but a definitive reason for the presence of the substance was never established.

Describing the double whammy of the disqualification and fine, Clarke said: “It’s been some of the toughest months of my life to deal with this.

“It’s been absolutely heartbreaking and it will take us an awful long time to get over it.

“We’re a small team and it was a huge triumph for us.

“It’s completely gutwrenching to have the race taken away in very unfortunate circumstances. It’s still very painful and raw for us.

“We’ve had unwavering support from the owner throughout and we’re looking forward to cracking on with our job.

“We’ve made sure every horse has their own bridle and headcollar to ensure we can eliminate this from happening again.

“We’re a really conscientious and diligent team, which is why this hurts even more, as we take this awfully seriously.”

Clarke’s medical records appeared to show only a a treatment for stomach ulcers had been given to The Galloping Bear.

His DQ means Haydock specialist Bristol De Mai – who came fourth in last weekend’s Betfair Chase – has been given the race.

The British Horseracing Authority had argued for a £2,000 fine and three-month ban for Clarke.

But Rory Mac Neice, representing Clarke, argued the case fell in the low culpability level.

James O’Mahony, panel chair, said: “This should be regarded within the low category with no knowledge of administration and reasonable precautions had been taken.

“We don’t feel a caution is sufficient as there were failings here in relation to Mr Clarke’s record keeping and those justify a fine of £1,000.”

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