Drug testing up and positive t...


Drug testing up and positive tests down in Irish horse racing

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There has been an increase in drug testing in Irish horse racing but positive tests on riders and horses have decreased according to the latest statistics.

The figures were revealed by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on Tuesday in their Integrity Racing Statistics for 2019.

They include stewards’ enquiries, appeals and referrals hearings, drug/alcohol testing of riders, drug testing of horses, licences, medical statistics and handicap ratings.

Among the key factors from the 2019 statistics was the increase of drug testing among riders and the decrease in positive tests returned.

In total, 381 riders were tested across 34 race meetings and eight Point-to-Point meetings.

Two riders tested positive which was down from the five who tested positive in 2018 - the highest number since testing in the industry began in 2014.

The number of horses tested in 2019 has increased across the board but the number of racecourse samples was down to 3,004 last year from 3,034 in 2018.

Point-to-Point meeting samples were up by just one to 617 but there was an increase of 196 out-of-competition samples, 778 in total, taken from horses.

The number of positive results were down to 13 from a total of 4,399 tests last year.

That compares to 27 positive tests from the 4,232 carried out in 2018.

Denis Egan, Chief Executive of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board, commented on the figures relating to breaking the whip rules in the official statement released today.

"There are some very significant changes in the statistics when compared to previous years with the most significant increase being in penalties imposed for whip rule breaches which are up 78% to 379," said Egan.

"This is as a result of the new more stringent whip rules which were introduced in April 2019 under which the maximum number of strikes allowable was significantly reduced to eight.

"That said, we have found the rate of offending has been reducing as riders become more familiar with the changes."

You can read the full statistics here.

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