Following Irish trainer Jim Bolger voicing his concerns on doping in Irish racing this past weekend, a strong statement against doping was issued by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on Monday evening.
The statement read: “Following comments made recently, the IHRB can once again stress there is a zero-tolerance approach to doping in Irish racing and we operate to the highest level using LGC Laboratories in Newmarket, who are one of five International Federation Horseracing Authorities certified laboratories in the world, and the same laboratory used by the British Horseracing Authority.
“The IHRB will continue our extensive testing programme with 5,000 samples in 2021, once again including every race winner, additional raceday samples, out of competition samples and now also at unlicensed premises following on from the receipt of authorised officer status for 12 employees of the IHRB last month, which allows us to access and sample any thoroughbred at any time in Ireland.
“Each and every one of the samples taken are sent to LGC for analysis and any sample that returns an adverse analytical finding is acted upon, and details published, following our disciplinary process. LGC have been world leaders in anabolic steroid detection for over 60 years and most recently have led detection of these drugs in hair.”
Since May, the IHRB authorised officers have visited studs, consignors and pre-training yards besides licenced trainers, with about a quarter of the samples collected being out-of-competition tests.
Denis Egan, CEO of the IHRB said, “There is no room for complacency when it comes to equine anti-doping. The IHRB have shown that by significant increases in testing over the last number of years, and through collaboration with LGC, we have been able to take advantage of the science available.
“Our focus is on risk-based and intelligence led strategy which directs us to get the right sample from the right horse at the right time. The appointment of IHRB officials as authorised officers further strengthens that.”
Brian Kavanagh, CEO of Horse Racing Ireland, added, “Ireland is a global leader in racing and breeding, and that position brings with it a responsibility to always be vigilant when it comes to anti-doping.
“HRI considers it crucial that continuous investment is made in ensuring that testing is constantly increasing in both numbers and agility, utilising the most modern techniques, and is of an internationally accredited standard.
“HRI has consistently increased its investment in anti-doping through the IHRB in recent years, and that will continue to be the case. This is not a closed industry so I would encourage anybody who believes that there are people operating outside of the rules, to contact the IHRB and make their concerns known.”