BHA Steps Up Anti Doping Regime

BHA Steps Up Anti Doping Regime

Horse Racing’s governing body - the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), confirmed at a media briefing on Tuesday, that they will be testing all the winners of all the top band races in the calendar, to battle claims against potential doping. 

They will now test the first four finishers in all Group races on the Flat and all Grade 1 jumps races, in comparison to their outdated methods, where only the winner and a selected few others were selected for checks.

Only 10% of samples were actually put forward for testing anyway, to look for any potential performance enhancing drugs - such as Cobalt. 

Chief regulator Brant Dunshea highlighted the BHA’s investment and commitment to improving its anti-doping regime.

(Credit: Racing Post) Dunshea said: "From September 1 this year we quietly introduced a change to our policy in relation to sample collection – that in all Group 1, 2 and 3 Flat races and all Grade 1 jumps races we would test the first four.

"That is driven by a desire to further protect the international Pattern and enhance the integrity around the best quality races conducted in Britain.

"We are committed to being seen to set an international standard and hope that by doing this it will become the international norm that the major racing jurisdictions will adopt.

"We've now been able to include some additional sample analyses that were separate to the standard screen, such as cobalt, into the standard screen,” he said. 

The change has its fair share of drawbacks, with the increased levels of testing providing extensive challenges - particularly on cards with multiple group/graded races, such as Royal Ascot and the Cheltenham Festival.

However, Chris Watts, the BHA's head of integrity assurance, announced that they have hired an additional twenty-five candidates for a new investigatory team, with the department's processes and priorities all having been reviewed and reassessed. 

The BHA said it was now also committed to operating a more open and transparent regime, open for the public to view its cases.