THE high-profile Philip Fenton and John Hughes steroid cases have raised a lot of questions, both inside and outside the horse racing industry. In the last couple of weeks, this column has attempted to deal with some of them, but the biggest question remains: is steroid use prevalent in Irish racing?

As damaging as mainstream questioning of the integrity of our sport is, of bigger concern to me is when doubts are expressed within the sport. The prosperity of a pursuit such as horse racing is reliant on all of the players, be they trainers, owners, jockeys, the betting public or racing fans, being confident that the playing field is level and that they can compete by playing by the rules. If that confidence is lost, fair-minded players will inevitably become disillusioned and the game will fall apart.