BHA Considers Implementing Horsehair Testing to Better Detect Steroids
The British Horseracing Authority may add testing mane and tail samples from horses as it strives to improve testing measures and catch any illegal substances.
According to an article in The Guardian, BHA officials will more than likely add the drug testing of horsehair to their drug testing arsenal. The hair in a horse's mane or tail can provide evidence of the substances in its body throughout the time that the hair has taken to grow. This would be “invaluable in detecting sustained use of steroids.”
“At HFL [Horseracing Forensic Laboratory] Sport Science there is a team whose role is to constantly research methods of improving our sampling techniques,” Robin Mounsey, the BHA's media manager, told the press on June 24. “If it was deemed an effective method of testing and of benefit to achieving our objectives, then the introduction of hair samples is a possibility. It has been explored in the past and could be incorporated to our rules and procedures in the future.”
In the recent doping scandal involving former Godolphin trainer Mahmood al Zarooni, the testing of hair samples could have provided officials with a much clearer picture of the extent and duration of Zarooni's doping activities. Also, according to the article, such testing “could also provide evidence of steroid use on horses from foreign jurisdictions, such as Australia and the United States, which do not adopt Britain's zero-tolerance approach to steroids.”
Read more in The Guardian