11 Aug 2014

British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced today that it has completed the initial stage of its enquiry into the positive results for morphine recently detected in a number of post-race samples.

Investigations have established that in all but one of the cases the circumstances are very similar and point to the source of the positive test being contaminated horse feed. The intention is for all these cases to be heard together by the Disciplinary Panel. In the other case, involving a yard which is responsible for only one positive sample, while the evidence is also suggestive of contaminated feed, differences in the circumstances mean that the case will be heard separately.

Upon receipt of the results of the counter-analysis on two outstanding ‘B’ samples, as requested by connections of horses concerned, the process of identifying potential dates for the Disciplinary Panel hearings will get underway.

Further to the already reported seven samples testing positive for morphine, BHA can confirm an additional finding from within one of the yards that has already produced a positive. Once the outstanding ‘B’ sample analysis is complete, BHA will be able to confirm the identities of all the horses whose samples returned positive results.

At the hearings, the Disciplinary Panel will be presented with the circumstances pertaining to each horse and they will decide what course of action should be taken. If the Panel find that the source of the positives was contaminated feed, BHA’s position will be that where the Trainer has taken all reasonable precautions to safeguard against a positive test, no penalty should be imposed on the Trainer. However, according to the Rules of Racing, the horses involved should be disqualified.


Notes to Editors:

1. Morphine is a substance known for its powerful pain relieving properties and is a Prohibited Substance on a raceday.

2. BHA cannot discuss the details of an investigation prior to a Disciplinary Panel hearing.

3. BHA is not able to confirm which horses’ ‘B’ samples were tested.

4. According to Rule (C)58.1 where a sample (the ‘A’ sample) tests positive for any Prohibited Substance, the trainer or owner may request that analysis be carried out on the ‘B’ sample taken from the horse on the same occasion. As outlined in Schedule 7, if this is requested, the owner or trainer will nominate the laboratory where the ‘B’ sample will be analysed, which can be at an accredited international laboratory.

5. While not ruling out the possibility of further positive samples being detected, there are currently no indications of any additional positive test results.

6. According to Rule (A)74.2 the Authority will disqualify a horse in relation to a race that has already been run where the horse has been the subject of an examination under Part (B)1 and a sample from the horse tests positive for a Prohibited Substance.