By: Tessa Akerman/The Australian
Victoria’s racingis auditing drug swabbing across the three racing codes amid concerns that tests are being destroyed or going missing, and that positive drug tests are not being prosecuted.
Commissioner Sal Perna engaged an external agency to conduct the audit of the end-to-end drug swabbing process through random sampling to assess and report on the harness racing, horse racing and greyhound racing controlling bodies’ compliance with their own systems.
The audit was referred to in the commissioner’s annual report, tabled in parliament last week.
The report said the audit’s results will go towards ensuring the Victorian racing industry has a consistent end-to-end approach to swabbing with documented procedures and practices that closely align to a standard model.
Racing Victoria Limited’s annual report said prohibited substances were detected in 0.108 per cent of 12,968 samples analysed across race day and out-of-competition testing in 2015-16.
In 2014-15, 0.16 per cent of the 12,234 samples analysed across race day and out-of-competition tested positive to containing prohibited substances.
The Compliance Assurance Team conducted 1086 stable inspections in 2014-15, an increase of 180 per cent on visits in the two previous seasons.
A 2015 audit by Harness Racing Victoria showed there had been a significant reduction in the number of swab samples taken by HRV.
A total of 2076 post-race urine samples were provided in 2007 whereas in 2014 only 1350 samples were taken.
There was also a reduction in post-race blood samples and the number of swab samples.
The report said every winner at Melton was swabbed with up to three pre-race samples taken per race in comparison with two to three winners at country meetings.
The audit recommended extra resources, including funding, be provided to enable stewards and investigators to protect the integrity of the industry by upholding the rules of racing.
“HRV’s evident downsizing of its integrity functions falls short of what is expected by government and the industry,” it said.
Following the report by the integrity commissioner and the state’s chief veterinary officer, Greyhound Racing Victoria is implementing a series of recommendations to clean up the sport.
It was recommended GRV’s animal welfare compliance and education officers and investigators be designated as stewards for the purposes of the rules of racing and their powers of entry and inspection be increased and clarified. GRV has taken action to change the entry and inspection powers and is reviewing animal welfare and integrity officer authorisations and powers.
The integrity commissioner’s audit is continuing and final recommendations have yet to be made by the commissioner to the respective controlling bodies.
Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna has engaged an external agency to conduct an audit of the end-to-end drug swabbing process.