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Former BHA anti-doping manager Tessa Muir to head new Usada equine programme

Former BHA anti-doping manager Dr Tessa Muir has been recruited by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) to head its new equine programme, which will fully implement the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act from July 1, 2022.

Muir, who worked for the BHA from October 2013 to November 2019, before taking up the role of regulatory veterinarian with Racing Victoria in Australia, has been charged with putting into practice systems that will ensure the integrity of the US thoroughbred racing industry is in line with the majority of international jurisdictions.

Usada has an initial five-year contract adding an equine programme to its work with human athletes. Chief executive Travis Tygart said: “The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (Hisa) has been empowered to take on the rulemaking and enforcement activities of the Act and will implement and enforce an anti-doping and medication control programme, and a racetrack safety programme, for thoroughbred racing.

“We are utilising shared services within our organisation where that can be effective, but must ensure we have the unique expertise that might be required when dealing with a different type of athlete. Tessa was our first hire for the equine programme.”

Tygart, who has been with Usada for 14 years and headed investigations that brought down cyclist Lance Armstrong, added: “Tessa is a licensed vet as well as being in the process of completing a Master's degree in law, and probably has more experience than anyone in equine anti-equine doping.

“She has already been a valuable resource to help get that first set of rules published, getting industry input and making reasonable modifications. She’s one of the best there is, and we’re thrilled to have her as part of the team.”

Muir got her first experience of racing by riding out for Mick Channon and at Lindsay Park in Australia, before becoming a full-time vet with the Ascot Vale Equine Clinic in Melbourne. She returned to England and joined the BHA in 2013 as a veterinary assistant, before becoming anti-doping manager in October 2015.

She and Charles Scheeler, chairman of the Hisa board of directors, will give the first public presentation on the organisation’s latest developments at the US Jockey Club’s annual Round Table Conference on August 15, when the event will be held virtually for the second consecutive year.

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