Irish trainer Luke Comer has been banned from racing for three years after 12 of his horses tested positive for banned anabolic steroids in an unprecedented scandal.

He was also fined a total of €85,000 and the 12 horses banned from running for a period of two years.

Comer has been ordered to pay almost €760,000 in costs.

He categorically denied that he or his staff were involved in doping the animals.

Comer admitted traces of banned steroids methandienone and methyltestosterone were found in hair samples taken from the horses at his stables in County Meath.

The case failed to establish how the drugs got into the horses’ systems.

Comer argued that hay fed to the horses may have been contaminated with drugs through pig slurry.

An Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board referrals committee, which dealt with the case, said the presence of banned substances in so many horses at one time was “quite unprecedented”.