Trainers claim BHA approach to hair testing in Morrison case 'doesn't add up'
The National Trainers' Federation believes the BHA's reasons for not using hair testing in the Hughie Morrison investigation "don't really add up" as it claimed it was fully behind the anti-doping measure.
Morrison commissioned his own hair sampling to try to establish a timeframe when the banned steroid nandrolone could have been administered to Our Little Sister as he sought to prove his innocence in a case that could have had far-reaching consequences for his career.
The BHA has said it does not use hair sampling as primary evidence because there is no international agreement or accreditation in place, but the NTF said it was referring to hair testing when it urged the regulator to "review aspects of its management of anti-doping regulation" after Morrison avoided a ban and was fined £1,000.
NTF chief executive Rupert Arnold said on Saturday: "Our position has been that our support for the anti-doping rules when they came in in 2015 was based partly on the assumption that a reliable hair test would be available at some stage fairly soon. The absence of a reliable hair test is very regrettable, and I'm sure the BHA agrees.
"The point really was the BHA said in its statement that due to its absence it can't use a hair test as primary evidence. The test carried out on Hughie Morrison's behalf wasn't used as primary evidence, it was used and accepted by the disciplinary panel as evidence that shed some light on what might have happened. That's why the BHA's reasons don't really add up."
Arnold continued: "It's interesting that the BHA used hair testing on any horse who was trained abroad and comes to race in this country from a non-exempt country.
"It uses a hair test when horses are permanently imported to race in this country, so it seems the BHA is confident enough of that hair test to use it in limited circumstances. I don't really see why it wouldn't have been able to use a hair test in the Hughie Morrison investigation.
"We don't resist the principle of using hair testing. We wanted there to be a reliable hair test in order for the BHA's equine anti-doping regime to be as watertight as possible and provide a level playing field for all competitors.
"It was the BHA who told us it wasn't satisfied there was a reliable enough test for it to be used as prima facie evidence in a disciplinary hearing."
Members can read the latest exclusive interviews, news analysis and comment available from 6pm daily on racingpost.com