AFP
Wire Service
1 minute read
5 May 2021
6:58 pm

Running high: Horse racing chiefs launch saliva tests to detect cocaine

AFP

Under the pilot, any jockey who does not test negative would be stood down from riding for the day. The testing method gives near-instant results.

Queen Elizabeth II’s runner Reach For The Moon was a red-hot 2-5 favourite to win the Hampton Court Stakes, but the colt was given a galloping lesson by Claymore, owned by South Africa’s Mark Slack. Picture: iStock.

British horse racing chiefs announced on Wednesday they have launched a two-month pilot scheme to test the saliva of jockeys for cocaine and other banned substances.

Racing will become the first major sport in Britain to use on-the-day screening for banned substances through oral swabs, should it prove successful.

Under the pilot, any jockey who does not test negative would be stood down from riding for the day. The testing method gives near-instant results.

Tests have taken place at Kempton Park and Lingfield Park this week, with all jockeys returning negative samples.

“Saliva testing is a progressive next step for our testing and surveillance of prohibited substances,” said Brant Dunshea, chief regulatory officer for the British Horseracing Authority.

He said the low costs involved would allow the ramping-up of capacity.

“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 race day,” added Dunshea.

Paul Struthers, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, said the introduction of saliva testing was an “important development”.

“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,” he added.