BHA update regarding investigation into cluster of positive tests for morphine

British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced that it has completed the initial stage of its enquiry into the positive results for morphine recently detected in a number of post-race samples.

Investigations have established that in all but one of the cases the circumstances are very similar and point to the source of the positive test being contaminated horse feed. The intention is for all these cases to be heard together by the Disciplinary Panel. In the other case, involving a yard which is responsible for only one positive sample, while the evidence is also suggestive of contaminated feed, differences in the circumstances mean that the case will be heard separately.

Upon receipt of the results of the counter-analysis on two outstanding ‘B’ samples, as requested by connections of horses concerned, the process of identifying potential dates for the Disciplinary Panel hearings will get underway.

Further to the already reported seven samples testing positive for morphine, BHA can confirm an additional finding from within one of the yards that has already produced a positive. Once the outstanding ‘B’ sample analysis is complete, BHA will be able to confirm the identities of all the horses whose samples returned positive results.

At the hearings, the Disciplinary Panel will be presented with the circumstances pertaining to each horse and they will decide what course of action should be taken. If the Panel find that the source of the positives was contaminated feed, BHA’s position will be that where the Trainer has taken all reasonable precautions to safeguard against a positive test, no penalty should be imposed on the Trainer. However, according to the Rules of Racing, the horses involved should be disqualified.