No evidence of steroid abuse in Irish racing, says Turf Club
‘We carry out extensive testing in training and there is no evidence of steroids being used here’
Nitrotain: banned anabolic steroid
The Turf Club insists they have no evidence of steroid abuse in Irish racing.
The statement comes on the back of last week’s conviction of a retired Department of Agriculture veterinary inspector of importing banned animal drugs, including a prohibited anabolic steroid.
John Hughes, brother of well-known racehorse trainer Pat Hughes, pleaded guilty to five counts of possessing banned drugs last week, including 6kg of Nitrotain, a banned anabolic steroid. Investigations began after customs officers intercepted two parcels at Dublin Airport.
Hughes was ordered to pay €10,000 to the Kilkenny Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the case has been adjourned to December 5th.
On the back of Mahmood Al Zarooni’s eight-year ban, and the use of steroids at Godolphin’s stables in England, such speculation closer to home is potentially embarrassing for Ireland’s racing industry. However, the Turf Club’s chief executive insisted yesterday that the regulatory body has no evidence of steroid abuse in Ireland.
“We will be keeping a close eye on this but what I would say is that we carry out extensive testing in training and there is no evidence of steroids being used here. That doesn’t mean there are, or aren’t steroids being used, but that we have no evidence,” said Denis Egan “We tested over 3,000 horses last year, testing them in training and post-racing and found no evidence.”
He added: “We have increased our testing levels and our random inspections and what I would also say is that we are part of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, which has a set drugs policy. And the evidence coming across from everyone there is that there isn’t a problem.
“Of course, after the Al Zarooni case alarm bells are ringing everywhere about steroids . . . Even in England, with the exception of Al Zarooni, examples are very, very few over there. And we don’t know what these drugs were for, whether they were for use on horses, or cattle.”