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Fenton will not return to training when steroids ban ends next month

Philip Fenton has ruled out a return to training after his period of disqualification for possession of anabolic steroids comes to an end next month.

The 52-year-old was handed a three-year ban after a Turf Club referrals hearing in November 2014 and says he is not contemplating a return to the training ranks in the near future.

“I have no intention whatsoever of returning to training,” Fenton told the Racing Post.

Should Fenton change his mind and apply to have his trainer’s licence reissued, the regulator’s licensing committee would be obliged to consider the application.

“That’s just the way things are with me at the minute and there’s no reason to ask why I won’t be,” Fenton added of his decision not to reignite what had been a promising career.

The former leading amateur rider is the first Irish trainer to be convicted of possessing anabolic steroids after officials from the Department of Agriculture discovered forbidden remedies at his yard in January 2012.

Philip Fenton with Last Instalment after winning the 2014 Irish Hennessy Gold CupzoomIn
Philip Fenton with Last Instalment after winning the 2014 Irish Hennessy Gold Cup

They found a kilogram of Nitrotain and a 20ml bottle of Ilium Stanabolic, both anabolic steroids and illegal for use on horses in Ireland. Fenton pleaded guilty to three breaches of the rules 25a, 272, 273 XIII.

After the trainer was convicted, he said: “At times like these you just always have to hope there is some light at the end of the tunnel.”

However, at least for now, there will be no return to a profession in which he saddled multiple Grade 1 winners, including Dunguib, who won the 2009 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.

In the weeks prior to the revelation of Fenton’s transgression in 2014, he sent out Last Instalment to win what was then the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown for Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud.

The horse subsequently unseated in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham, having been cleared to participate after preemptive BHA tests on Fenton’s Cheltenham Festival runners returned negative.

According to the Turf Club rule book, a disqualified person is not allowed to enter, train or ride a horse at a race meeting and is also prevented from attending meetings.

However, they are not precluded from attending sales, and Fenton has continued to be a presence at various sales fixtures.

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