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IHRB Welcomes Independent Review of the Equine Anti-Doping Programme


The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) welcomes Dr. Craig Suann’s Independent Review of the IHRB Equine Anti-Doping Programme (EADP), published today and undertakes to work through the recommendations contained in the review to enhance what the review recognised as a programme “at least matching international best practice”.


Dr. Suann is the former Racing New South Wales chief veterinary officer and his collaborative work with the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory has been instrumental in the first-time detection of several prohibited substances.


Dr. Suann’s review recognises the advances made by the IHRB in recent years, following the Report of the Anti-Doping Task Force. The significant progress made includes the appointment of LGC Assure as the designated laboratory, increased sample taking and testing, and enhanced investigation capabilities.


In 2018, LGC Laboratories was appointed for provision of laboratory services for the IHRB. LGC is a laboratory certified by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) which has a proven track record in sustained delivery of the highest standard of world leading analytical testing in equine anti-doping. LGC is one of only five IFHA certified ‘Reference Laboratories’.


The review also recognises the IHRB's increased testing capabilities in recent years. The IHRB is the first racing authority to routinely take hair samples at race meetings as well as in out-of-competition testing (OOCT), which now account for 25% of all samples tested. The collection of these samples broadens the scope and capability of detecting a range of substances over varying lengths of times.


Dr. Suann also acknowledges the world-leading and ground-breaking initiative of appointing IHRB staff as Authorised Officers (AOs) in enhancing investigation capabilities of the organisation. AOs, under the Animals Remedies Act 1993, can obtain warrant cards to facilitate their unprecedented access to any Thoroughbred in any premises at any time to permit the sampling of horses. A unique feature of racing authorities globally, this sets the IHRB as international best practice.


Commenting on the report Clíodhna Guy, interim CEO of the IHRB said: “The recommendations made by Dr. Suann in his audit are to be welcomed. In our unrelenting quest to ensure the highest standards in our sport the IHRB is guided by the main principle of our Equine Anti-Doping strategy to take the right sample from the right horse at the right time. We will continue to develop and upgrade our systems and processes based on advice like this and always work to be a world leader in Equine Anti-Doping.”


The report in full can be read here


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