Racing is the latest sport to fall victim (yet again) to doping scandal, it emerged yesterday.
Turnaround, a two-year-old colt, tested positive for the tranquilliser ACP, after finishing last in a Nursery Handicap Stakes at York in August, a race for which he started 3-1 favourite.
The colt swerved out of the stalls, and put in a disappointing performance to finish last out of 13 runners, 21 lengths behind the winner.
The Jockey Club testing procedure for banned substances is the same as the FEI procedure: the B-sample has been sent off to Hong Kong for counter-analysis, and thereafter, the Jockey Club will need to ascertain whether the banned substance, which clearly had a negative affect on the horse’s performance, was there by accident or design.
ACP has widespread use as a sedative for clipping or shoeing etc., and therefore there have been incidents involving the drug in the past which have proved to be accidental. For the moment however, malpractice is not being ruled out.
“We have studied betting patterns on the race, and carried out initial interviews with trainers and staff in the yard, and as yet there is no evidence of malpractice,” commented John Maxse, the Jockey Club’s PR Director.
“However, in view of the substance in question, we are obviously continuing to treat it as suspicious.”
The racecourse stables in question are covered by CCTV, and according to the Jockey Club, there is nothing apparently untoward involving the horse on camera.
“From the moment [he arrived] to the time when he left the yard to race, no one has gone into his stable who shouldn’t have”, explained Maxse.
Fallon returns to saddle following crashing fall
Kieren Fallon returns to the saddle this afternoon for the first time since his crashing fall at Leicester on Monday, which left the defending champion jockey battered and bruised.
Although he had hoped to return to the saddle on Tuesday afternoon, he was not passed fit to ride by the racecourse doctor at Leicester, and subsequently decided to rest until this afternoon.
Fallon’s title chances are fading by the day. Frankie Dettori has on his indestructible way this week, with a double at Lingfield on Wednesday, a win at Leicester on Tuesday, and victory on 1,000 Guineas runner-up Sundrop at Newmarket yesterday.
However, Fallon does not countenance taking this particular defeat on the chin. In his weekly Teletext column, he commented: “My task is hard, but I am not the sort of man you write off and I will be kicking on trying to catch Mr Dettori.”