The Irish Harness Racing Association have taken 94 random samples for Integrity purposes across a range of 45 individual race days in 2016 and followed this up with a random testing process at laboratory level of some 34 of these samples with the remainder being held in storage by the testing Laboratory.
Two samples taken at Annaghmore Raceway were deemed to be void and were consequently not analysed as they did not comply with the minimum sample packaging and paperwork requirements.
All 34 samples analysed to date for prohibited substances have returned Negative results. There has been full compliance with this random process at both of Ireland’s premier venues Portmarnock Raceway and Dundalk Stadium where the minimum of three random samples has been achieved on most occasions.
The process of random sampling is achieved at the race tracks by drawing from sealed envelopes containing the the race numbers which are opened by the Veterinary Surgeon on duty after the start of the first race with the remaining non selected sealed envelopes held by Stewards for verification purposes at the end of the race meeting.
The process of random testing is done at laboratory level where the decision is made by testing staff to select the require number of samples to be analysed on any given occasion.
Operating within very restricted budgetary constraints we feel that the levels achieved in 2016 are well above the minimum requirements for a sport that is essentially self funded and our figures compare favorably with our counterparts in Great Britain where there were some 50 samples analyzed at Laboratory level.
2017 will see some major new developments in this area subject to Government funding for the industry.