Talking Horses: BHA on alert as Irish increase jockeys’ cocaine bans

Anti-doping programmes in Britain will be the priority as two jockeys in Ireland are given five-year suspensions after returning positive tests

The British Horseracing Authority said on Friday that “an overall review of the anti-doping education program” for jockeys will be “a priority” in 2019, and that a review of the penalty structure for riders testing positive for cocaine and recreational drugs could be included “if appropriate”. For the moment, however, the BHA has “no immediate plans” to follow the lead of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), its Irish counterpart, which said this week that its new standard punishment for a cocaine positive will be a five-year ban.

There has been a slight rise in the number of jockeys returning positive tests for cocaine on British tracks in recent years, and while there was just one positive in 2018, there were three in 2015 and two in both 2016 and 2017, following a six-year period from 2009 to 2014 with just one cocaine positive in total.

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Talking Horses: BHA on alert as Irish increase jockeys’ cocaine bans