After he expressed concerns in the press earlier this month about alleged doping practices in Irish racing, this year's G1 2000 Guineas and G1 Irish 2000 Guineas-winning trainer Jim Bolger has been invited before an Irish parliamentary committee on July 6 alongside representatives of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board, Horse Racing Ireland, the Department of Agriculture and the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association to discuss the matter.
Bolger last autumn described the use of performance-enhancing substances as the “number-one problem” facing Irish racing, and expanded on those claims in a series of interviews with Paul Kimmage in the Sunday Independent recently, where he said he thinks “there will be a Lance Armstrong in Irish racing.”
Agriculture Committee Chairman Jackie Cahill said it is “hugely important” that Bolger's claims are investigated.
“We're seen as the world leaders in horse racing,” he said. “For a small country our success is phenomenal. We really punch above our weight and for a lead trainer, Jim Bolger, to say that there would be a Lance Armstrong incident in Irish racing is extremely serious. It just can't be ignored it must be dealt with. In my view, he has to either confirm it or withdraw it. It's doing serious reputational damage.”
A spokesperson for the IHRB said on Tuesday, “we would welcome the opportunity to meet with the deputies on the Oireachtas Committee and explain details of what we do in terms of equine anti-doping and our strategies as well as the advances that have been made in this area over the last number of years and more recently.”