Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Integrity Investigations Team (IIT) testing since 1 July has resulted in almost 95% of the test results in compliance with the rules.
The IIT has carried out 559 human urine samples and 127 breath tests from thoroughbred and harness racing participants all over the state from Brisbane and the Gold Coast in the south east, as far west as Mt Isa, Longreach and Roma, up to Cairns and Atherton in the north and including centres such as Toowoomba, Beaudesert, Ipswich, Gatton, Sunshine Coast, Kilcoy, Gympie, Oakey, Charters Towers and Rockhampton.
Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said the no notice testing operation was an important part of the work of the Commission and of the 155 jockeys, 41 apprentice jockeys and 292 track work riders currently registered in Queensland, most have been tested at least once during the period.
“These no notice testing operations provide a level of confidence to the industry that the Commission is doing what it can to ensure a safe work place for jockeys and track work riders who put their lives on the line every time they saddle up,” he said.
Confirmed positive results to prohibited substances were found in 14 thoroughbred participants including to THC, oxazepam, temazepam, cocaine, acetazolamide, ketamine, norketamine, dehydronorketamine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, zopiclone, morphine and codeine and four participants returned alcohol readings in excess of the permitted .02 threshold.
The latest positive screen was taken at Marburg track work yesterday when a harness trainer/driver was stood down when his alcohol reading returned above the .02 threshold, he also screened positive to Benzodiazepines. This is the only harness racing participant to screen positive since 1 July.
It is one of the positive screens that are awaiting confirmatory analysis including one positive screens for THC, one for methamphetamine/amphetamines, three positive screens for opiates and two for benzodiazepines, one for THC as well as one for methamphetamine and amphetamine.
In the period since 1 July, there have been seven instances of participants who failed to provide samples. Two participants have since faced the stewards resulting in one disqualification and one suspension. There has also been six occasions involving three participants who substituted their samples and all three have been disqualified. One case is currently being finalised by the Stewards.
Commissioner Barnett said those riding impaired with drugs or alcohol were a danger to everyone on the track and the selfish and risky behaviour was unacceptable.
“I am disappointed with the number and variety of offences that we have detected, they speak to a selfish disregard by those participants for the safety of their colleagues,” he said.
“However, it is encouraging that the number of breaches in the past five months shows close to a 95% compliance rate and the vast majority of riders are taking their risk seriously and behaving in a professional manner.
“It also shows there is still work to be done and the Commission will continue its ongoing program of anywhere, anytime testing and participants should expect to be tested.”