New Equine Anti-Doping And Medication Control Initiative Launched By BHA And IHRB

The new initiative sees both the IHRB and BHA working in concert | BHA

A new equine anti-doping and medication control initiative was announced by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) on Thursday. The initiative underpins their commitment to the regulation of medicine use and zero tolerance of doping in horse racing on both sides of the Irish Sea.

The IHRB and BHA are now formally conducting joint out-of-competition-testing operations across both jurisdictions. These inspections started this week with almost 250 samples taken from more than 120 horses that are entered for the upcoming Cheltenham Festival in an operation across 14 training premises in Ireland over the last two days.

In Ireland, the organisations will work together and operate under IHRB Standard Operating Procedures, and all samples will be considered as IHRB samples. BHA protocols will be in effect when the BHA and IHRB are working together in the UK, and they will be under BHA jurisdiction. In both instances, there will be transparent exchange of any adverse results or screening findings that arise from these tests, with all samples being tested by LGC Laboratory, one of six laboratories worldwide which is recognised as a referenced laboratory by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA).

Dr Lynn Hillyer, chief veterinary officer for the IHRB, said, “The IHRB Strategy 2024-2027 commits us to close engagement with international horseracing bodies and benchmarking ourselves against best international practice. This new venture shows stakeholders and the racing public that we collaborate as professionals across both sides of the Irish Sea, sharing best practice and resources and demonstrating equally stringent regulatory processes and standards to the extent that our anti-doping and medication control programmes are interoperable.”

James Given, director of Equine Regulation, Safety and Welfare, said, “Not only will our Medication Control and Anti-Doping (MCAD) team have access to more information about visiting horses, but there will be opportunities for our wider team to share ideas and best practice in other areas of our work.”

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