Effective anti-doping testing is primordial in preserving the horse’s well-being, guaranteeing the integrity of trotting and safeguarding both the players’ welfare (jockeys and horses) as well as the punters’ interests. This is why LeTrot invests heavily in the fight against doping in terms of manpower and funding. Numerous samples are taken every year, but positive ones are rare.
Anti-doping testing relies on two fundamental principles. First and foremost, if a horse is declared to run, it must be in good health.
The Rules of Trotting clearly address this principle through the following requirements:
- It is forbidden to administer a prohibited substance to a horse declared to run in a race after the entries have been closed (i.e. 7 days before the race).
- When the final declaration has been officially issued, the horse must not have any traces of a prohibited substance in its tissues, body fluids, excretionsor any other part of its body. In other words, if is a horse is declared runner, it must be negative three days before the said race.
To make sure these requirements are met, LeTrot has continually increased raceday testing in collaboration with the Fédération Nationale des Courses Françaises (see stats) since fixing its goal to implement sampling after every race. Today, the objective has practically been fulfilled.
The other fundamental principle that testing relies on concerns medication administered in training. In this case, medication must be administered transparently,and exclusively in the interest of the horse’s welfare. Under no circumstances does treatment allow horses with pathologies that are incompatible with physical effort to remain in training.
As early as 1995, LeTrot instigated anti-doping testingdirectly at the trainer’s stable. Carried out without prior notice, samples are taken from four of the trainer’s string. Other checks are performed too: verification of prescription and vaccination logs, checks on medicine cabinets and ensuring all the horses declared in training are present at the training establishment.
There have been some important developments in medication control over the last 10 years.
To improve testing, a two-track approach has been retained where controls have been broadened and some innovative methods have been implemented, notably with the creation oflongitudinal tracking.
Diversification of controls
Sampling declared runners
In some big races, testing is not just limited to racedays, but also carried out 48 hours before the eventon all officially declared runners.
Out-of-competition testing and horses at stud
Today, the diversity of testing means samples can be taken at any moment in a horse’s career, from the moment it is foaled right up to the end of their racing career.
An innovative longitudinal tracking system has been in place since 2009. The previous year’s 25 biggest earners are sampled every month without notification. Implemented solely in France for trotters, the system collects some interesting data on the best horses in training and maintains serious medication control on them. As part of the tracking system, samples undergo usual testing methods as well as other special innovative measures.
Further to medication control, LeTrot has been developing other projects to improve horse wellness. For a few years now, LeTrot has initiated or funded researchto scientifically apprehend any potential harmful effects on well-being.
Impact of running unshod
A study relating to the impact of running unshod and the effecton feet (wear) and gait was performed incollaboration with CIRALE (National Veterinary School at Maisons Alfort), while funding was granted to a study carried out by ONIRIS (National Veterinary School at Nantes) on pulmonary haemorrhages.