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Horse Racing

Rapid testing that screens jockeys for COCAINE brought in after alarming spate of positives

RACING chiefs have brought in an improved testing system for jockeys after an increase in the numbers of positive tests.

Saliva testing will allow riders to be tested on the day they race – meaning rapid results.

The new system will be trialled for two months

Currently jockeys undergo a urine test but results can take too long to come back.

And after a spate of positives in 18 months – including the likes of Benoit De la Sayette and Oisin Murphy – the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) have pushed for this latest move.

The first of the pilot scheme began at Kempton and Lingfield on Monday and Tuesday this week and will last for two months.

Their chief Paul Struthers welcomed the move and said: “We see the introduction of saliva testing as a tremendously important development, and it is supported by our members. 

“An effective deterrent against the use of prohibited substances is an essential piece of the jigsaw in terms of keeping our jockeys healthy and safe.

“The increased testing which this methodology will allow, alongside the ability for on-the-day screening, represents a significant step towards that ambition.”

Brant Dunshea, Chief Regulatory Officer at the BHA, said: “Saliva testing is a progressive next step for our testing and surveillance of prohibited substances.

“In particular, the fact that it provides near-instant results means that we are now able to screen for the substance on the day of race. 

“The fact that it is a more cost-effective methodology will also allow us to significantly ramp up our testing capacity – something that we are supporting further through the allocation of an enhanced testing budget.

“This should serve to act both as a deterrent to those who might consider using prohibited substances and provide reassurance to those who are competing on raceday.

“We are grateful to the Professional Jockeys Association for working alongside us in developing this methodology.

“It is important that it is assessed through a substantive trial period before we commit to it in the longer term, but this trial period is the final step in what has been an extensive process.”

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