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BHA to step up efforts with more testing of samples

Robin Mounsey: BHA to carry out more testing of stored samples
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The BHA is to step up its efforts to stay on top of advances in modern doping methods by increased retrospective testing of samples and more testing of horses while they are in their training yards.

The number of out-of-competition drug tests carried out through unannounced visits to stables is set to rise from 700 two years ago to around 1,400 in 2017.

In addition, the BHA will also carry out more analysis of stored samples if it becomes aware of the development of new performance-enhancing substances.

BHA head of media Robin Mounsey said: "The BHA has the provision within the rules to store samples for testing retrospectively. This approach is used by the BHA to act as a deterrent against the use of prohibited substances, and to continue to protect the rights of participants to race on a level playing field, and ensure the health and welfare of horses.

"The BHA continues to conduct research, and develop new techniques to detect the presence of prohibited substances. To best utilise these new techniques and to deter doping with prohibited substances which, at the time of sample collection, may be impossible or difficult to detect, the BHA store and retest samples from time to time.

"This approach is something we will be using more frequently. As is consistent across our sampling strategy, samples are stored on a risk-led, intelligence-led or random basis."

Much out-of-competition testing is conducted in the build-up to major race fixtures, with testers arriving at stables without giving notice, a practice that trainers accept, according to the National Trainers Federation.

"We don’t believe the additional testing should be a cause for trainers’ concern," NTF chief executive Rupert Arnold said. "Testing protects trainers by ensuring all are competing on level terms.

"Out-of-competition testing procedures have a practical impact on a yard but most trainers accept this as they understand that protecting the integrity of racing is fundamental to public confidence in the sport and a robust testing strategy is essential to maintaining that confidence."

This approach is something we will be using more frequently.
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