UK trainers face more drug testing: Australian Associated Press 12/11/09
Friday, 11 December 2009
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is set to expand random drug testing of horses next year.
No longer will the authorities concentrate on post-race testing of runners, launching "less predictable" testing initiatives, increasingly driven by information and intelligence received on horses in training.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the BHA stressed that the overall policy remained that "no horse should run in Great Britain under the effects of medication or have any substance present in its system that can affect performance".
"Protecting the integrity of the sport and the welfare of the thoroughbred horse remains a priority, and this new approach will enhance the deterrent effect," the statement said.
The new testing regime starts on January 1 and will be, the BHA claimed, "less predictable; the levels and timings of testing, the type of testing, and even the samples collected will vary to ensure our efforts are targeted, and not just all routine tests.
"Whilst a significant volume of post-race sampling will continue, the authority will considerably increase the amount of pre-race and in-training testing. Blood and other forms of sampling will be adopted."
A BHA spokesman would not comment on the numbers and types of tests, and where and how they will be taken, but suggested that figures would be available at the end of 2010.
Under the present testing programme, 9,035 samples were taken in 2007, seven proving positive. In 2008, there were 9,631 samples, with 15 positive cases being confirmed.
Professor Tim Morris, the BHA's director of equine science and welfare, said the new approach would ensure a good spread of testing, whilst "increased unpredictability in testing" will deter offenders.
"We also want to be able to act quickly on intelligence received and deter the extremely small minority of people in our sport who might cheat," he said.
"In-training testing allows us to help trainers ensure that they and their staff are using medication for horses in training appropriately and keeping accurate records of their use."
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