No drug issue in jockey ranks, says Victorian Jockeys’ Association chief executive Des O’Keeffe   Leave a comment

No drug issue in jockey ranks, says Victorian Jockeys’ Association chief executive Des O’Keeffe

“But of course you hear things from time to time, anecdotal stuff,’’ O’Keeffe said.

Victorian Jockeys' Association chief executive Des O'Keeffe.

Victorian Jockeys’ Association chief executive Des O’Keeffe. Source: News Corp Australia

THE jockeys’ association does not believe there is a drug issue in its ranks, but wonders whether Racing Victoria would “step up’’ if it discovered widespread use.

Victorian Jockeys’ Association chief executive Des O’Keeffe said random and targeted testing of jockeys suggested their use of drugs such as ice and cocaine was no more or less prevalent than in the wider community.

“Whether or not Racing Victoria would want to deal with widespread use — if that’s what one day comes to light — is another thing. Would they be wanting to get involved in that level of commitment for rehabilitation and so on?

“But there is no evidence we have a bigger problem than the rest of society. In fact, I’d say we have the education and monitoring processes to say there was less.’’

The issue of drugs in racing, involving use by participants themselves rather than on their horses, was raised this week when trainer Matt Laurie suggested a positive ice test from one of his horses must have been the result of transmission by a drug-using staff member.

Trainer Matt Laurie.

Trainer Matt Laurie. Source: News Limited

RVL suggested trainers drug-test their staff, leaving many wondering why such an important task is placed on the trainer — who could lose their licence due to ice contamination caused by staff — and not the controlling body.

Greyhound racing has also reported dogs with positive tests to ice and suggestions drug-using handlers may have been the source.

Jason Maskiell is the only Victorian jockey to test positive to ice. Both O’Keeffe and chief steward Terry Bailey said testing was thorough but not foolproof.

“Ice is out of the system within 48 hours,’’ O’Keeffe said. “It makes it that bit easier to get away with but I’d say stewards are aware of these things when they do testing.’’

Bailey said the drug landscape had changed considerably in the 20-plus years he had been a steward.

“In the old days it was just cannabis. These days it’s a whole range of things but we have the testing that covers that range,’’ he said, but added it was difficult to nab occasional recreational users.

Bailey said stewards had conducted about 430 random drug tests on jockeys in the last year. He said urine samples provided by Laurie and members of his staff were still being analysed.

Originally published as No drug issue in jockey ranks, says O’Keeffe

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Posted June 25, 2015 by belesprit09 in Uncategorized

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