Dual UAE champion trainer Ernst Oertel is confident that he will be able to clear his name. Oertel was banned for four months by Emirates Racing Authority (ERA) after Razeen and Mell De Piboul, two of his horses, had been administered a banned substance.
Oertel intends to appeal his ban that was effective immediately. His problems started when the Equine Forensic Unit of Dubai found the horses had traces of ibuprofen in their urine following runs at Sharjah on November 1 and Abu Dhabi on November 16. A third horse, El Mansour, in the yard of Ernst Oertel has subsequently been found to also have the anti-inflammatory drug in its system. ERA had disqualified the two horses.
Oertel pleaded guilty to two charges under the provisions of ERA Rule of Racing 95AAA 2. The ban on Oertel expires on April 15, 2015. Meanwhile, the stable will be presided over by Salim Al Ketbi, the managing director. Veronika Aske, the assistant trainer, will carry on in her role.
The Dual UAE champion trainer remarked he is innocent of administering the drug. Oertel remarked he does not know where the ibuprofen has come from and added that we do not use it here at Al Asayl. The trainer also said he has always been a strong supporter of the ERA's anti-drug policy ad is frustrated as he know he has not done it. Oertel carries responsibility for the horses in his care and he would not be able to find any relief even if he proves that both he and his staff are not the source of ibuprofen, he was the license holder at Al Asayl, the Abu Dhabi-based operation.
It is worthwhile to note that this is not the first occasion when a horse in the care of Oertel has been found to have been administered ibuprofen. On November 7, Devdas was disqualified from a race over 1,400 meters at Meydan. Oertel was fined Dh30, 000 after ibuprofen was detected by the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory and their findings were verified by the Singapore Turf Club.
In January 2014, Furosemide was found by the ERA stewards and Equine Forensic Unit in the post-race urine sample of Nymphea Du Paon, after the filly won the Arabian Triple Crown round one at Abu Dhabi on January 5. The drug, also known as Lasix and possessing performance-enhancing qualities, is commonly used as an anti-bleeding drug and a diuretic. He was fined Dh60, 000 for the presence of Furosemide in his charge and an extra Dh5, 000 for his failure to enter treatment given to the filly in her medication log book.
The Emirates Racing Authority (ERA) has significantly increased the number and sophistication of its tests over the past 18 months for prohibited substances. In May last year, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, decreed that the use of anabolic steroids would be a criminal offence. Testing has become far more frequent and regulated since then.