Trainers throw support behind anti-doping rules ahead of review
The National Trainers Federation said on Thursday that disciplinary panels should be able to impose appropriate penalties based on the evidence in each case as it underlined its continued support for the application of strict liability in anti-doping cases.
Philip Hobbs escaped sanction from the disciplinary panel after one of his horse's positive test for an antihistamine, a decision the BHA contested only for the appeal board to uphold the original decision in November.
And the following month Hughie Morrison escaped a lengthy ban after his filly Our Little Sister had tested positive for an anabolic steroid, with the panel concluding he was not involved in her doping.
The decisions by independent panels ran counter to the principle of strict liability under which trainers are responsible for the positive tests of horses in their care, regardless of proven involvement.
As a result the BHA board has sanctioned a full review of the rules to achieve clarity for all participants.
The NTF had called for a review of aspects of the regulations after the Morrison inquiry and said it welcomed the BHA announcement.
Chief executive Rupert Arnold said: "We would like to take this opportunity to clarify and confirm that the NTF supports the principle of strict liability in equine anti-doping cases and we have not challenged it in recent cases.
"Our contention has been that the rules should not fetter the disciplinary panel in its duty to impose appropriate penalties in the light of the specific evidence in each case. This is what the Appeal Board confirmed in its decision on the BHA’s appeal of the Philip Hobbs case."
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