Ainsworth: Hair Testing an ‘Innovation’ Upholding Racing Integrity

QUEENSLAND, Australia — Mark Ainsworth has expressed his positive views about hair testing utilisation in horse racing. He cited that this method is a breakthrough. Additionally, Ainsworth remarked that hair testing is a way to attempt something different to uphold racehorse trainers’ honesty. The acting commissioner of the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) spoke while awaiting hair sampling results from racehorses that participated in January’s rich Gold Coast Magic Millions day.

Ainsworth relayed that such an event was the first-ever Magic Millions carnival where his office has performed hair testing. He said that the technique aims to identify the historic employment of banned substances. The former police Detective Superintendent also pointed out that stewards would have the capability to lay charges based on the hair sampling results. 

Ainsworth noted that hair testing would come down to the type of drug in the racehorse’s system and the trialling’s circumstances. According to the update posted online by Australian horse betting information and news portal Racenet, the QRIC official remarked that hair testing is another ammunition for them. He mentioned that the animal welfare side of it is quite significant as well.

Ainsworth shared that the horse racing sector knows how hair testing is now edging towards the integrity efforts’ forefront to correct any wrongdoings as the rich winter horse racing carnival looms in Queensland. He insisted that the state’s new hair testing regime is already accomplishing targets. The integrity boss also disclosed that, in the 2019/20 financial year, there had been 43 swabs for banned substances declared positive in thoroughbreds. Nevertheless, that amount was merely seven in the initial two quarters of the 2020/21 financial year.

In mid-2020, racing animals’ hair testing commenced in the Sunshine State. This procedure determines if there had been any utilisation of banned substances in the lead-up time well before a competition. During the hair testing of racehorses’ proclamation, QRIC officials claimed that the new regime leaves dishonest racehorse trainers nowhere to hide. 

Ainsworth cited that racing animals’ hair keeps prohibited substances’ traces for months. He added that this part of a racing animal functions like a reservoir of forbidden drugs administered over time. Hair testing targets banned substances like anabolic agents such as anabolic-androgenic steroids along with metabolic modulators and hormones. At the time of writing, hair sampling is still in its beginning stages in Queensland, and there have been zero charges laid over hair testing outcomes.

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