Horses found to have been administered prohibitive substances, including anabolic steroids, are set to be handed lifetime bans in Ireland.
The Irish Thoroughbred Industry Anti-Doping Task Force recommended the no-nonsense approach in their eagerly-awaited report which was released on Thursday morning.
Task Force chairperson and Turf Club senior steward Meta Osborne said: “The key objectives are to eliminate cheating and to ensure that horse welfare is paramount.
The announcement of a lifetime ban for any horse found to have been illicitly administered any substance “prohibited at all times” including anabolic steroids is an unequivocal statement that cheats will not be tolerated within Irish racing.
“The Turf Club will continue to work with Horse Racing Ireland in this vital area to ensure that we have the resources and structures in place to maintain the highest levels of integrity in our sport, and thereby to safeguard the international reputation of the Irish thoroughbred industry.”
The Anti-Doping Task Force have made a number of key recommendations in their report on top of the proposed lifetime ban for any horse found to have been illicitly administered any substance “prohibited at all times”, including anabolic steroids.
The lifetime ban on racing in Ireland would be applied to horses illicitly administered a substance “prohibited at all times” anywhere in the world, while there should be no automatic therapeutic use exemption for anabolic steroids.
More out-of-competition testing is planned as well as a significant increase in the number of samples collected and analysed each year. Any horse entered for sale at public auction in Ireland will be liable for testing.
The 16-strong panel have produced a 16-page report and as part of the stance Horse Racing Ireland has approved expenditure of €1.845m to purchase new laboratory equipment and ensure appropriate facilities to continue to meet the challenges being faced.
HRI will also support the annual cost of additional sampling, higher levels of out-of-competition testing and the creation of a new dedicated anti-doping unit within the Turf Club through its integrity budget.
The Anti-Doping Task Force was set up in December 2014 following the three-year-ban imposed on Phillip Fenton two months earlier for having possession of the banned anabolic steroid Nitrotain.