Irish Government Committee To Conduct Hearings On Racehorse Doping Allegations

An Irish parliamentary committee will be conducting the first of three hearings on Thursday, July 8, looking into the allegations of racehorse doping made by leading trainer Jim Bolger, who said in a June interview with Paul Kimmage of the Irish Independent, “There will be a Lance Armstrong in Irish racing.”

Representatives of Horse Racing Ireland, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board and the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association are expected to testify during the hearings, which continued on July 13, with two separate sessions.

Bolger was invited to testify but declined on the advice of his lawyer. The trainer, whose recent successes include Poetic Flare’s victory in the Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, also declined to state who in Irish racing he believes are doping their horses. “They can rest assured I know who they are,” Bolger told the Independent. “Like, if I had responsibility for rooting out cheats, I’ve have them rooted out in six months.”

In the wake of Bolger’s inflammatory interview, Denis Egan, the longtime chief executive of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board – the organization that felt the brunt of the trainer’s criticism – announced that he his leaving his post in September at the age of 60. Egan has said his decision to take an early retirement has nothing to do with Bolger’s comments. He has been with the regulatory board (previously known as the Irish Turf Club) for 26 years, 20 of them as its chief executive.

Bolger’s concerns with doping trace back to the 2012 seizure by Irish customs officers of Nitrotain, a steroid manufactured in Australia. The packages were addressed to veterinarian John Hughes, who was found to have imported more than 500 pounds of Nitrotain over 10 years. Hughes received a five-year ban from racing. Bolger contends the regulatory board didn’t fully investigate where the Nitrotain was going or follow up on a list of trainers they discovered when they searched Hughes’ residence.

Jackie Cahill, who chairs the Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, stated: “The Committee has agreed to a series of meetings to discuss the concerning commentary around the integrity of the horseracing industry in Ireland and possible drug use in the sport. We have taken the opportunity to invite the relevant individuals, bodies and organizations in to discuss the recent, very concerning, commentary on the matter and giving them the time and place to debate the issues and highlight their own concerns.

“We are global leaders in the horse racing industry, and any question around its integrity or the possibility of drug use could be extremely damaging,” Cahill added. “Breeders, jockeys, owners, and trainers are dependent on the viability of the sport in Ireland and the good name of the industry around the world. The Committee hopes that these meetings will bring clarity to the situation.”

The post Irish Government Committee To Conduct Hearings On Racehorse Doping Allegations appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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