Breeders’ association set to argue for two days’ notice for drug testing

ITBA protocol talks with Turf Club also likely to include issue of ‘therapeutic use exemption’

The Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association says 90% of Ireland’s foal population belongs to its members, and insists there is no evidence of steroid use within the Irish bloodstock industry. Photograph: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

The Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association says 90% of Ireland’s foal population belongs to its members, and insists there is no evidence of steroid use within the Irish bloodstock industry. Photograph: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

 

Talks between the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association and the Turf Club over a new protocol to allow racing’s regulatory body to drug test on stud farms are expected to continue on Wednesday. However, the issue of how much notice, if any, should be given to breeders before testers arrive at farms looks set to be among a number of likely sticking points.

Having originally said it wanted its members to get seven days' notice of any testing, the ITBA reduced that to five days. Now it is understood the breeders' body will argue for two days’ notice under any new protocol which allows the Turf Club access to farms.

The ITBA says 90 per cent of Ireland’s foal population belongs to its members, and insists there is no evidence of steroid use within the Irish bloodstock industry.  

On the back of a series of controversies surrounding the use of anabolic steroids in Irish racing in 2014, the provision for a protocol to allow the Turf Club test on stud farms was a central element of a cross-industry anti-doping task force report.

That report was published over a year ago, yet talks between the ITBA and the Turf Club on implementing a protocol continue to drag on.

Farm inspections

As well as the issue of notice, it is understood there could be disagreement next week over the nature of farm inspections. The ITBA want them to be random, while the Turf Club want to be able to target on the basis of intelligence sources.

It is also understood the breeders’ body is set to argue that certain animal medicines should come under a “therapeutic use exemption” or “TUE” system.  

”I can’t get into details because we’re still talking ahead of our meeting with the Turf Club,” said the ITBA spokesman Shane O’Dwyer. “But we would hope to get all of this finalised on Wednesday.”

In other news, the Turf Club has confirmed that jockey Rachel Blackmore lost her appeal against a five-day ban imposed under “non-trier” rules by Fairyhouse stewards for her ride on the Ellmarie Holden-trained Look Closer this month.     

Holden’s appeal against a €2,000 fine also failed, and the 42-day ban imposed on the horse under the new Rule 212 regulations was confirmed at a referrals committee hearing.

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