BHA confirms introduction of new anti-doping saliva and sweat testing pilot

04 Aug 2023 BHA Features

The BHA has today confirmed that a new anti-doping saliva and sweat testing pilot is to commence this month. The previous oral fluid/saliva pilot was suspended in September 2022 and a comprehensive review process has taken place resulting in a number of alterations.

The launch of the new pilot will bring about the use of a different, Home Office-approved testing kit. This kit, which is also used globally by police to conduct roadside screening as well as for other safety critical employee drug testing, takes a sample in less than 60 seconds and is able to provide a result in five minutes.

In the event of a non-negative sample being provided, a second screening will be undertaken, with the jockey free to weigh out in the event this returns a negative result. If the second test is also non-negative, the rider will be stood down from riding that day and a urine sample will be taken. This jockey will then be permitted to ride the following day and beyond, pending the return of the urine result and a negative test prior to weighing out.

If the urine test confirms the presence of a prohibited drug, the jockey will follow the usual process for a positive drugs test.

The anti-doping saliva testing pilot, which previously tested more than 1,300 samples, was concluded in September 2022, following a negative laboratory confirmatory analysis requested after a point of care non-negative saliva sample donated by jockey Sean Levey.

Last month, the BHA confirmed that Mr Levey did not take amphetamine or any other prohibited substance and has not committed any offence under the Rules of Racing, with the cause of the non-negative appearing to have been a supplement that those administering the test were not aware of at the time.

Since the original pilot concluded, the BHA has conducted a thorough review in conjunction with the PJA and individual jockeys to identify learnings prior to this resumption, incorporating all feedback and making necessary improvements, with the ultimate goal to ensure racing is kept safe, fair and clean.

Tim Naylor, BHA Director of Integrity and Regulatory Operations, said: “I am pleased to be able to confirm the start of a new oral fluid testing pilot and would like to thank jockeys for their engagement with the process that has allowed us to reach this point.

“Keeping racing safe, clean and fair is our number one priority, and this testing provides us with an opportunity to not only protect the welfare of our human participants, but also the horses taking part in races, as well as the integrity of those races for all participants and bettors.”

Notes to editors:

1. For more information on the BHA’s anti-doping measures, click here.