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IHRB and BHA introduce new equine anti-doping & medication control initiative

This is part of a common commitment to the regulation of medicine use and zero tolerance of doping in horseracing. 

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The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) and British Horseracing Authority (BHA) have announced a new equine anti-doping & medication control initiative. 

Building on both jurisdictions increasing Out of Competition Testing (OOCT) in recent years, the IHRB and the BHA are now formally conducting joint OOCT operations across both jurisdictions. 

These inspections started this week, with almost 250 samples taken from more than 120 horses that are entered for the upcoming Cheltenham Festival. 

It has been agreed when working jointly in Ireland that the pair will operate under IHRB Standard Operating Procedures, with all samples considered as IHRB samples. Meanwhile, when IHRB Veterinary Officers operate in Britain, it will be under BHA protocols and BHA jurisdiction. 

Samples will be tested by LGC Laboratory and there will be a transparent exchange of any adverse results or other findings that come from the tests. 

IHRB Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Lynn Hillyer said: “The IHRB Strategy 2024-2027 commits us to close engagement with international horseracing bodies and benchmarking ourselves against best international practice. This new venture shows stakeholders and the racing public that we collaborate as professionals across both sides of the Irish Sea, sharing best practice and resources and demonstrating equally stringent regulatory processes and standards to the extent that our anti-doping and medication control programmes are interoperable. 

“We are delighted to be collaborating with our BHA colleagues in this way and see it as a positive step forward that reinforces the point that there is no room for anything other than the highest standards of integrity and welfare in either jurisdiction.” 

Director of Equine Regulation, Safety and Welfare, James Given, added: “The BHA welcomes the collaboration with the IHRB to demonstrate to stakeholders and the public that horses running from either side of the Irish sea in each other’s races do so under the same level of scrutiny. 

“Not only will our Medication Control and Anti-Doping (MCAD) team have access to more information about visiting horses, but there will be opportunities for our wider team to share ideas and best practice in other areas of our work. 

“Like the IHRB, this is aligned with our aims around international collaboration, the response to racecourse accidents and the overall improvement of equine safety and welfare.” 

In other horseracing news this week, the German Tote has signed a deal with Total Performance Data (TPD). 

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