By Daryl Timms
RACING Victoria could consider the introduction of a proposal put to Horse Racing Ireland to impose life bans on horses that test positive to a prohibited substance.
Under the recommendations released in a 16-page report by the Irish Thoroughbred Industry Anti-Doping Task Force in Dublin, horses such as those who tested positive to cobalt in Australia would never race again.
The task force was established after the three-year disqualification of trainer Philip Fenton in late 2014 for having banned substances, including anabolic steroids, in his possession.
“Illegal performance-enhancing drugs have no place in the Irish racing and breeding industries,” the task force said in a statement.
“In particular, the task force supports the position of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities that the use of anabolic steroids should not be permitted in or out of competition.’’
A ban on anabolic steroids in racehorses, in and out of competition, was introduced in Australia in 2014.
RV chief steward Terry Bailey said on Friday he had read the report and it would be tabled at the next drug strategy meeting, where he would seek opinion from vets.
“We will then see if it is something that should be considered here,” Bailey said. “It would put the onus on the owners to choose their trainers carefully.”
Bailey supported a proposal by Cranbourne trainer Mick Kent for the cobalt and bicarbonate levels of every horse in training to be published on an industry website, a practice used in NSW harness racing for the past two years. Kent says it would name and shame trainers who are cheating.
Bailey said the idea would also be discussed at RV’s next drug strategy meeting.
“There doesn’t seem too much opposition to it and we’ll probably have a discussion with the Australian Trainers’ Association,” he said.
“We are doing a circuit with all the trainers at the moment and we were up at Benalla on Thursday night with about 30 trainers and we are putting that scenario to them.
“We have another two or three trainer sessions to do. If there is a view that it is going to help, then why not?
“As far as bicarb results are concerned, we don’t have a lot of concern in that area so we might just go the cobalt.’’
Bailey is being accompanied at the consultation meetings by RV chief executive Bernard Saundry, chief vet Brian Stewart and racing manager Greg Carpenter.