Prohibited Substances – NHA Statistics Overview

If numbers are your game...

The NHA have published a specimens summary.

Please note that the statistics below are for the racing seasons 2016/2017 up to and including 2022/2023 (7 years).

The total specimens analysed by the NHA Laboratory was 34 647 out of total runners for the period totalling 244 998 (14,14%) covering 16 305 races.

Post-race urines

Post-race plasmas (including dead horses)

Pre-race plasmas

Out of competition blood

7 Year Summary:

This % positive rate in yellow above of about 0.2% and 0.3% of specimens has been quite constant at the NHA over the past 20 years (clear exceptions are feed contamination such as the above 0,67% due to Zilpaterol and Caffeine in the period 2016 – 2018).

The about 0.2% and 0.03% positive rate is not higher than in countries where the stables that are NOT under direct Horseracing Authority control (such as Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore).

Compared to Australia, England and Ireland our positive percentage rates are consistent with their statistics (excluding the data on the total coverage of runners analysed).

The highest proportion of positive findings at the NHA however remains those so-called equine therapeutic substances which have a legitimate place in the recovery and pain management of injuries and strain which occur during race days. Obviously, within the current economic conditions, the pressures are immense for the horse to compete as much as possible, even though there may be underlying injuries which require medication for treatment purposes. Within these pressures, these substances are being used closer and closer to race days, which result in positives due to “outlier excretion”, i.e. racehorses not excreting as rapidly as the typical statistical norm for racehorses. This results in those Screening Limits (therapeutic effect decision limits) being exceeded, with the Laboratory declaring positives as a consequence thereof. These substances, if used responsibly, has a “recovery” place in racing and which occurs in the vast majority of instances.

The quarterly statistics per region is attached on for the 2022/2023 Racing Year.

Within the fact that the 2022/2023 year presented 15 positive findings, extremely noteworthy is the high level of 7 plasma findings which make out this number, and then the additional fact that 5 of the 7 positives (a third of these 15 positives in red above) originate from Out of Competition specimen collection. These 5 positives originate from a total of 658 Out of Competition specimens which provides a very high positive percentage rate of 0,76%. This 0.76% positive rate is noted as one of the highest rates from NHA specimen collection type during the 7 previous years of prohibited substance screening at the NHA.

The NHA assure all stakeholders that the mission statement of “maintaining the integrity of the sport of horseracing” is paramount in ensuring the legitimacy of the racing product both locally and internationally.

Please visit to view all the statistics in the Annual Reports tab.

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