THE Irish Horseracing Regulatory (IHRB) has welcomed an independent review of the Equine Anti-Doping Programme (EADP) from Dr Craig Suann, who detailed 18 recommendations in his report, seven of which were deemed as high priority.

These recommendations included an increased focus on out-of-competition testing on high-profile/high strike-rate training yards and their pre-training and other related establishments, and a review of raceday sampling strategies with the view to increasing total in-competition samples collected.

The report also recommended that with the roll out of CCTV on all racecourses, these should be installed in the sampling units of each racecourse, and that the IHRB should examine the resources and staffing levels and structures that are required to ensure the timely hearing of matters relating to adverse analytical findings.

The review also concluded that the IHRB’s EADP “does at least match international best practice in most respects and has made significant advances in recent years. However, a number of recommendations have been made that, if adopted, are capable of enhancing the robustness of the programme’s processes, capabilities and capacities.”

Dr. Suann has 33 years experience working in Australian racing as a former chief veterinary officer and his collaborative work with the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory has been instrumental in the first-time detection of several prohibited substances.

He was asked to carry out the audit by the IHRB following an Oireachtas cross-party hearing last year prompted by comments from Jim Bolger.

It is likely that the IHRB will need significant extra funding if they are to implement the report’s recommendations. Dr Suann did acknowledge advances made by IHRB in recent years, including the appointment of LGC Assure as the designated laboratory, increased sample taking and testing, and enhanced investigation capabilities.

Commenting on the report Clíodhna Guy, interim CEO of the IHRB said: “The recommendations made by Dr. Suann in his audit are to be welcomed. In our unrelenting quest to ensure the highest standards in our sport the IHRB is guided by the main principle of our Equine Anti-Doping strategy to take the right sample from the right horse at the right time. We will continue to develop and upgrade our systems and processes based on advice like this and always work to be a world leader in Equine Anti-Doping.”