British racing boosts its anti-doping efforts

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Will racing authorities adopt the wider anti-doping measures being introduced in Britain Photo: Noah Salzman CC BY-SA 4.0 from Wikimedia CommonsPhoto: Noah Salzman CC BY-SA 4.0 from Wikimedia Commons
Will racing authorities adopt the wider anti-doping measures being introduced in Britain? Photo: Noah Salzman CC BY-SA 4.0 from Wikimedia CommonsPhoto: Noah Salzman CC BY-SA 4.0 from Wikimedia Commons

British Racing Authorities have boosted their anti-doping efforts, announcing plans to the test the first four finishers in all Group races on the flat and first-grade jumps races.

The new initiative, which will formally launch from next year, will include screening for several new substances, including automatic testing for cobalt, which is considered performance-enhancing.

The previous programme had seen the winner automatically tested, together with any other horses selected. Additional testing for cobalt occurred in only 10 percent of cases.

The authority confirmed this week that it had quietly introduced the extended measures at the start of September. It was now satisfied that it could cope with the workload and logistical challenges involved, and it would become the standard regime from next year.

The agency’s regulatory officer, Brant Dunshea, said the move was part of efforts to enhance racing integrity around the best quality races across Britain.

The authority hoped to set a standard that other racing jurisdictions would eventually adopt.

Additional investment in testing had resulted in an expansion in the range of detectable substances, including more laboratory-developed drugs, synthetic peptides, and alkalising agents used in the practice called milkshaking – an effort to neutralise lactic acid produced during exercise.

Dunshea confirmed the new testing programme had required some resource redistribution, but had proven workable.

The organisation’s head of integrity assurance, Chris Watts, announced an expansion of his 25-strong investigatory team, promising a more proactive approach to its work.

Disciplinary cases will now be processed faster, and the organisation intends to provide more information to those under investigation as part of its revised procedures.

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