The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities has adopted a raceday threshold for cobalt of 0.01 micrograms per litre of urine, which the British Horseracing Authority will put into effect Apr. 2.
Cobalt is an essential trace element naturally present in the horse; however, when administered at levels beyond natural parameters, it has the potential to affect performance and the health of the horse. Cobalt positives have made plenty of headlines in Australia over the past year, with a handful of trainers charged with administering the substance to affect performance facing bans of three years or more. On Thursday, champion trainer Peter Moody began a six-month suspension for presenting a horse to race with cobalt in its system above the permitted threshold.
“It is important that British racing remains at the forefront of all matters relating to integrity and welfare,” said Jenny Hall, chief veterinary officer for the BHA. “While we would previously have had facility under our rules to bring charges against anyone found to be misusing the substance, the implementation of this threshold provides a formal framework for such charges, should they be detected via testing.”
The BHA also announced Friday that as of Apr. 2, all horses competing in British flat races on the turf must enter the parade ring fully shod, unless permission is otherwise granted by the BHA before the race’s 48 hour declaration stage.