Turf Club plans to increase drug tests on jockeys
Disqualified owner Joey Logan will have appeal heard on Tuesday
Racing officials believe a problem with recreational drugs is mainly confined to younger jockeys. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
The Turf Club has admitted concerns about the rate of positive tests for recreational drugs among jockeys and it plans an increase in the rate of testing this year.
In its recently published integrity statistics for 2016, racing’s integrity body reported that 178 samples taken from jockeys and analysed last year uncovered four positive tests. The samples were taken at just 21 meetings.
The results are a contrast to a zero outcome from 913 alcohol breath tests carried out last year – at 19 meetings – the fifth year in a row that no jockey has provided a positive return for alcohol.
Racing officials believe a problem with recreational drugs is mainly confined to younger jockeys and that racing’s testing rate is higher than most other sports where the emphasis is on uncovering performance-enhancing drugs.
“The issue here is not bulking up or anything like that. Instead it seems to be mostly a problem with cocaine, and diuretics,” said the Turf Club’s chief executive, Denis Egan. “It is a concern and we plan to increase tests in 2017.”
A total of 3,540 tests were taken on horses, over 2,000 of them on-course, with five positive outcomes, a 0.15 percentage.
In other news, owner and point-to-point vendor Joey Logan will have his appeal heard at Turf Club HQ on Tuesday against a two-year disqualification over his role in the Like A Diamond affair at Ballinrobe in July of 2013.
Last month Logan, who produced the Grade One winner Finian’s Oscar among other horses, was ‘warned off’ along with trainer Sharon Dunphy after a Referrals Committee hearing decided that Like A Diamond had not been trained by Dunphy but was instead trained by Fabian Burke, who was employed by Logan.
Like A Diamond was heavily backed to win at Ballinrobe but was a late withdrawal by order of the stewards. Dunphy has decided not to appeal her two-year disqualification, while Burke had his two-year ban suspended last month and can’t train in his own name for four years.