Friday, February 28, 2014
Turf Club To Expand Drug Testing Regime

Current procedures for testing in training horses to be intensified

Horses out of training to be subjected to rigorous new testing programme

Formal information sharing arrangements to be put in place

New powers to search premises sought

Licensees must disclose information in relation to any investigations

New regime to become effective 1 January 2015

The Turf Club announced today, Friday, 28th February, that it is to significantly enhance its drug testing regime. With effect from 1st January, 2015, all horses whether returned in or out of training, or for whom a hunter certificate has been issued after that date, will be liable for testing at any time. This is just one of a number of measures announced by the Turf Club, all of which are aimed at strengthening its existing drug testing procedures.

In making the announcement Denis Egan CEO of the Turf Club, said:  “While the Turf Club already has an extensive and successful drug testing regime in place, it is an area that is under constant review and where we would never be complacent.  In 2013 the Turf Club tested 3,207 samples out of which three were found to be positive.  All winners on the racecourse are tested for prohibited substances while Turf Club Veterinary Officers also visit trainers’ yards and take samples from horses in training.”

The full programme of measures announced by the Turf Club is as follows:
•    With effect from 1st January 2015, all horses whether returned in or out of training, or for whom a hunter certificate has been issued after that date, will be liable for testing at any time. Such testing will commence from the first time that every horse has been returned in training and/or a hunter certificate has been issued until they have finished their racing career.

•    Discussions will commence with all stakeholders with a view to extending the testing of all horses as early as possible after birth.  A January 1st 2016 commencement deadline has been set for this to happen.

•    Discussions will take place immediately with the various enforcement agencies (Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Customs & Excise and the Garda Síochána) with a view to putting in place formal information sharing arrangements.

•    Discussions will also take place with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with a view to designating Turf Club veterinary officers as Authorised Officers under the relevant legislation to give them powers of search and seizure, powers which they do not have at present.

•    The Turf Club will continue to work with its scientific experts in developing hair testing methodology with a view to its introduction when appropriate.

•    All licensees will be required on an annual basis to disclose, as part of their licence application, if they are under investigation for any matter which may influence the granting of a licence. In addition they will be asked to confirm that substances that are prohibited at all times have not been used by them.

•    Clear indications of support have been given by Horse Racing Ireland in relation to providing funding to meet the Turf Club’s needs in this important area.

•    The Turf Club fully endorses the position announced by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities in October 2013 that anabolic steroids have no place in horse racing and that they should not be permitted in or out of competition. The Turf Club will be pursuing every means to make this a reality in conjunction with our colleagues in other racing jurisdictions.

In conclusion Denis Egan said: “The Turf Club will use every resource at its disposal to ensure that Irish racing is kept as clean as possible and free from drugs. Over the next two years we will significantly enhance the out of competition testing that we carry out, with the result that we will be able to test a lot more horses that previously we did not have access to. Recent developments have pointed for the need to extend the drug testing regime particularly into the area where horses are out of training, and also to seek new powers to enable the Turf Club veterinary officers inspect premises for illegal drugs”.

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