Mounting pressures on Racing Queensland have caused the executives to step up the controls in place keep illegal practices out of stables, announced earlier this week at Eagle Farm racecourse.
One of the biggest issues is the practice of drenching on race day, which will be combatted with random inspections of stables with the help of a newly acquired technology.
CEO Racing Queensland Darren Condon said the planned racing crackdown is a result of the State Government pressuring the industry to clean up its act.
“[This is] a new initiative of Racing Queensland as part of the mandate of the new government, that our integrity unit of the business would grow and be more focused on eliminating unfair practices and illegal practices in racing,” he said.
Queensland racing authorities say they will carry out spot checks on horses, stables and trainers in an effort to reduce illegal activities on race day; the aim is to level the playing field for all involved.
Racing Queensland Chairman of Stewards Wade Birch said, “We’ve now got to work towards eliminating any other opportunities for participants to gain an unfair advantage over their fellow participants.”
Drenching is when administrating bi-carbonate directly to a horse’s stomach with a pipe inserted through the nose artificially increases a horse’s blood-oxygen levels.
This insures all the bi-carbonate is absorbed by the horse, making it run faster for longer.
Authorities plan to monitor illegal drenching using their new i-Stat machine.
The machine tests a horse’s blood and can tell if the bi-carbonate level is above the legal limit.
Inspectors will also monitor medical records and other suspect practices in racing stables.
The racing industry is one of Queensland’s largest and concerned members have welcomed the crackdown. Veteran horse trainer John Meagher is one of those in favour of the new steps taken.
“Its the third biggest employer of people across the board,” he said.
“It has its place.
“People who are cheating, I have no time for them.”
Racing Queensland has dealt with two serious suspensions and at least 20 minor breaches since the scheme began last month. They also have said the average bi-carbonate level in horses in Queensland have lowered sharply since the scheme began.
And if you were wondering where Eagle Farm is located: