20 May 1999 Pre-2014 Releases

Changes to the Jockey Club’s Protocol For the Testing of Riders

Published: 20 May 1999

Following a full review of the dope testing procedures for riders, the Jockey Club has made some revisions and amendments to the protocol which will come into effect from 1st June. The random testing of riders, which is administered by the Sports Council, was introduced in October 1994. Since its introduction over 600 samples have been analysed, resulting in only three cases where riders have tested positive to prohibited substances.

The Jockey Club’s Chief Medical Adviser, Dr Michael Turner, said: “Overall, we have been very pleased with how the protocol has worked. The results show that jockeys do not have problems with either social drugs or other performance affecting substances and the changes have simply been introduced in the areas where we felt further improvements could be made or tightening up was required.”

The principal changes are as follows:

  • Alcohol – The previous threshold for alcohol of 108 mg has been halved to 54, which is in line with current concerns about “impaired performance”. No jockey has, to date, got near the new level of 54 mg so it not anticipated that the revised mark will produce more positives.

  • Diuretics – The revised list includes diuretics and all jockeys will be warned not to use these products for weight regulation. Monitoring of the tests taken by the Sports Council showed that some younger riders were starting to use diuretics to help control their weight.

  • Recreational Drugs – A couple of additional “recreational” drugs have been included to reflect the current use of social drugs (Ketamine and Tiletamine).

  • Notifiable Medications – There are a number of medications that are sedatives or impair performance which were not previously included in the doping protocol. These include anti-depressants and other sedative medication including the original anti-histamines. If a jockey is prescribed any of these products they are required to notify the Chief Medical Adviser and follow the procedures laid down in the protocol before committing themselves to race riding.

  • Exemptions – If exceptional circumstances prevent a rider from providing a sample (i.e because of injury, abandonment or attendance at an evening fixture) the rider will automatically be selected for “off course” testing and may expect a call from an Independent Sampling Officer at his/her home or yard within seven days.

  • Off Course Testing – The Rules and Protocol allow the Stewards of any race meeting to request that a jockey undergo dope testing providing that they are satisfied that there is “justifiable cause” to order this. In this instance, the Stewards would notify the Jockey Club’s Chief Medical Adviser and “off course” testing could be initiated immediately.

    Notes for Editors:

    Three riders have produced positive samples since testing was introduced in 1994:

    1. In October 1995 the Disciplinary Committee withdrew Sean McCarthy’s licence for two months after he gave a sample that was found to contain cannabinoids and amphetamines.

    2. In February 1996 the Disciplinary Committee withdrew Darren Salter’s licence for 21 days after he gave a sample that was found to contain cannabinoids.

    3. In May 1997 the Disciplinary Committee withdrew David Walsh’s licence for one month after he gave a sample that was found to contain amphetamines.