Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Integrity Portal

More proactive approach to Anti-Doping by the IHRB has led to increased Referrals


Earlier today we issued a notice about three seminars on the use of veterinary medicines and our anti-doping controls.

Within the announcement we stated that the focus of the Seminars will be to reduce the risk of positive tests which have increased significantly in recent months. This has given rise to questions about the increase in positives.

So far this year, there have been seven referrals compared with six for the whole of 2017 but there are currently several cases which are pending and due to be finalised in coming weeks.

The increase is the result of a combination of factors including a more proactive approach to testing and increased numbers of samples being taken.  To date this year, the IHRB have submitted around 2,400 samples for analysis from the racecourse, point to points and out-of-competition.  It is expected that the total number of samples tested this year will be 10% higher than 2017.

The IHRB has stringent processes in place to detect, deter and prevent improper use of drugs in horses. At the first sign of a prohibited substance in a sample, the IHRB will formally investigate the finding and work where possible with the trainer or handler, to identify the source of the ‘positive’ as rapidly as possible.

The referrals to date have involved mostly therapeutic equine medicines, given too close to a race-day, and the misuse of a supplements.

The IHRB is committed to increasingly use its resources to educate stakeholders in the industry on anti-doping matters.  As already outlined, the IHRB is organising Anti-Doping Seminars for trainers. handlers and veterinary surgeons on 6th, 26th September and 3rd October 2018.

Dr. Lynn Hillyer, Chief Veterinary Officer/Head of Anti-Doping for the IHRB said; “the IHRB is committed to being accessible and transparent in the area of anti-doping – it’s clear that the cases so far have largely arisen through a lack of understanding and error rather than deliberate cheating.  Trainers, handlers and their vets are increasingly coming forward to ask for advice and so prevent issues.  That is where we all want to be.”

The IHRB will not make a public statement about any Referral while the investigation is active. For information on Referrals and Appeals decisions, please visit

Editors’ Note:

The seminars ‘Prohibited Substances – Managing the Risk’ will be held on:

  1. Thursday, 6th September 2018 at City North Hotel, Gormanston, Co. Meath from 7-9pm, (after Laytown races);
  2. Wednesday, 26th September at the Offices of the IHRB, The Curragh, Co. Kildare from 2.30-4.30pm, and
  3. Wednesday, 3rd October at the Horse and Jockey Hotel, Horse and Jockey, Co. Tipperary from 7-9pm (after Cork Races).


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