Chips Farm Kennels, Ormskirk: Greyhound Trainer Richard Whelan and Others

#TheList greyhound trainer Richard Whelan, born c.1980, and kennel hands Gary Morley, Barry Murphy, Ian Orr and Jake Parkinson all of Chips Farm Kennels, Southport Road, Scarisbrick, Ormskirk L40 8HE – doped racing dogs with Viagra, birth control pills and pig sedatives

Richard Whelan (left) is disqualified from working with racing greyhounds as is kennel-hand Gary Morley (pictured)
Richard Whelan (left) is disqualified indefinitely from working with racing greyhounds along with four kennel-hands including Gary Morley (pictured)

Ten greyhounds in the charge of trainer Richard Whelan were “routinely” handed banned substances – including sedatives meant for pigs.

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain also banned four of Whelan’s kennel-hands for their involvement as animal welfare campaigners renewed calls for a clampdown on the racing industry’s doping scandal.

Sildenafil – Viagra’s active ingredient – was found in a sample taken from a dog called Skywalker Stevie, who had run at the Hall Green track in Birmingham.

The erection-boosting sex drug is said to give greyhounds an advantage by increasing their blood pressure and heart rate in the early stages of a race.

Richard Whelan is disqualified from working with racing greyounds following a doping scandal
Former greyhound trainer Richard Whelan

Nine other dogs handled by Whelan, 38, and kennel hands Gary Morley, Barry Murphy, Ian Orr and Jake Parkinson were found to have been doped.

Among the nine, seven were found to have consumed norethisterone – a key chemical in birth control pills used to suppress oestrogen in female dogs, so they can continue racing while in heat.

Three were also found to have ingested a pig sedative capable of slowing down a greyhound to potentially change a race result.

And another champion racer, Leonas Lark, tested positive for ­performance-boosting minoxidil – the active ingredient in men’s hair loss ­treatment Regaine.

Pills meant for treating malaria in humans and cramp in dogs were also seized during a 2017 raid of The Kennels, which is no longer in use.

Tim Morris, a scientific advisor for the greyhound authority, said: “The regime at the kennels was one in which the abuse of doping substances was frequent, if not routine.”

The board said Whelan placed “reckless trust” in them.

The banned trainer later admitted the test results were “very strange” but denied any knowledge of greyhounds being drugged and blamed jealous rivals.

He claimed the door to the kennels at Hall Green racetrack were unlocked between races.

He told us: “A lot of people did not like us training dogs.

We were very good at training dogs. We had a lot of winners.”

He said his ban was “a disgusting decision. I walked out of the hearing.

I understand being fined, but to be fined that amount and banned… it is a shambles.”

Flyer by campaign group Caged Nationwide
Flyer by campaign group Caged Nationwide

Greyhound racing has been blighted with doping claims for years and welfare experts say efforts to clean up the sport are failing.

Rita James, of greyhound protection group CAGED, said: “We think more can be done, most definitely.

In our view, race-fixing and doping is commonplace.

“People are putting dogs at risk to line their own pockets.”

Whelan claimed he dealt with the “money-side of the business” and “trusted the kennel-hands”.

Sentencing: all five men were each fined £5,000 and disqualified indefinitely from working with racing greyhounds.


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