“While the testing of blood and hair samples is not foreign to the industry it will soon become more common with the Commission’s enhanced Prohibited Substance Detection Program,” Dr Ledger said.
“Urine samples are common practice and can be used to detect the majority of prohibited substances, but as technology continues to evolve, blood and hair samples will be more commonly obtained to allow for thorough testing of all permanently banned prohibited substances.”
The list of permanently banned substances are referred to in GAR 79A(2) and include types of stimulants, growth hormones, peptide hormones, anabolic steroids and other illicit substances.
“The out of competition program was very successful during the Golden Easter Egg series in April, with all samples returning a negative result for permanently banned substances,” Dr Ledger said.
The Commission’s multi-dimensional strategy aims to deter the small minority of people who deliberately attempt to influence the outcome of a race by using prohibited substances.
“Our comprehensive program focuses on safeguarding the integrity of race meetings with pre and post urine race sample testing, and additional post-race blood testing when appropriate,” Dr Ledger said.
“Blood, urine and hair testing will also ensure the out of competition environment is equally protected.”
This increased focus on collecting blood and urine samples both in and out of competition aims to strengthen both industry and public confidence as the Commission continues to commit to transparent reporting.