Astonished Boyle slams BHA over random drug testing visit on Epsom open day
Epsom flagbearer Jim Boyle has expressed disbelief and anger after what he described as the BHA's "extraordinary decision" to carry out random drugs testing at his yard on the morning of the training centre's open day.
Boyle posted a furious tweet following the unexpected arrival of two vets at around 8.30am on Monday, just before he was due to address open day visitors on the Epsom gallops and one hour before the town's racing stables opened their doors to the public.
In 2016 the BHA offered a sincere apology to Boyle over its handling of a lengthy investigation into an earlier doping case that ended with the trainer being cleared.
In his Monday morning tweet, Boyle said: "I’ve seen it all now – @BHAPressOffice arrive for out-of-competition testing just as we start Epsom open morning. All for random testing, but this is an absolute joke, and guaranteed to cause maximum disruption on our busiest morning of the year."
Speaking later, Boyle said: "As I was leaving the yard to do my gallops talk, two BHA testers turned up. They were just doing their job, so I have nothing against them, but this is our busiest morning of the year and it's not as if the BHA don't know that.
"I'm all for out-of-competition testing, and unannounced visits are fine, but at least have a brain when it comes to the implementation.
"It just seemed as though there had either been a complete lack of forethought or, if it was premeditated, it appears to have been an extraordinary decision. Of the 365 days in the year, this is our busiest – and the BHA must have known that. Why choose today?"
Explaining how the testers' visit panned out, Boyle added: "I explained to the two vets they would have to wait for 15 minutes while I did my bit for the open day on the gallops. I also told them I didn't want them here after the gates opened at 9.30am, as vets sticking needles in horses is the wrong image to give to the public.
"When I got back to the yard we got going, but in the 45 minutes when the testing was taking place I was supposed to be sorting out final preparations for the open morning. Instead, I had to go around the testers.
"We were late getting ready for the opening of the yard and things were more rushed than would otherwise have been the case. Why this morning was chosen, as opposed to any other morning of the year, I have no idea."
A BHA spokesman said: "The purpose of our anti-doping programme is to ensure the sport remains fair and clean. Our testing programme requires that we must have access to horses for testing both in and out of competition at all times. We are grateful to Mr Boyle for accommodating the testers on a busy morning.
"We carry out yard visits for out-of-competition testing most weeks and it is something that has formed an ever-increasing part of our testing strategy in recent years."
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