Trainer Fined R125 000 – NHA Warns Of Novel Prohibited Substance

Changes to pre-race saddling procedures likely

The National Horseracing Authority confirms that a specimen which was collected from the horse Mover And Shaker on 22 February 2023, after it had won Race 10 at Turffontein Racecourse, has disclosed upon analysis the presence of a Novel Prohibited Substance, Mephentermine.

The Trainer has signed an Admission of Guilt for the offence and the penalty is a fine of R125 000.

Mephentermine, is an alpha adrenergic receptor agonist with sympathomimetic effects used commonly in the treatment of hypotension (low blood pressure).

It causes an increased cardiac output and at higher doses, may stimulate the central nervous system. It is therefore classified as a Prohibited Substance as per Rule 73.

Mephentermine is not contained in any local pharmaceutical product registered for use in human or veterinary medicine.

It is therefore considered to be an illegal substance when imported into the Southern African market without the required permit, and therefore the NHA strongly condemns its use in Horseracing. It is however available within overseas markets as both human and veterinary preparations and Trainers are warned against importing unregistered products for use locally.

The National Horseracing Authority Laboratory is a certified international racing laboratory which participates in all the prohibited substance proficiency testing programmes related to the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.

Annual proficiency testing confirms the screening capabilities of substances of concern to racing internationally, with the proven abilities to also detect these at the required sensitivities, although they may NOT be included on the NHA local prohibited substance list on our website (which is NOT exhaustive).  The NHA Laboratory has consistently achieved a pass rate of 100% over the last decade.

Routine screening at our laboratory is therefore very comprehensive, which includes this non-local drug Mephentermine. This substance has routinely been screened for in all NHA collected urine and blood specimens, for several decades, to date.  Whilst this drug is of a significant concern to racing internationally, the international requirement is that of highly sensitively screening. Such screening, and the subsequent confirmation of such positive findings, is conducted with ease at our Laboratory.

This matter has raised certain integrity-related concerns and thus, changes to the pre-race saddling procedures will be communicated by the Racing Control Executive after consultation with the necessary parties has taken place.

All Trainers and material Stakeholders are advised to treat this warning as a SERIOUS ISSUE and to refrain from this type of practice, as the consequences could be substantial.

  • Media release by National Horseracing Authority on Monday 17 April 2023

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