Day At The Track

Vic invest $1.6m in racing integrity lab

03:06 AM 10 Sep 2017 NZST
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Racing Analytical Services Limited
Racing Analytical Services Limited

The Victorian Labor Government has made a $1.6 million investment in a world-class drug testing laboratory to fight against performance enhancing drugs in racing.

The Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) laboratory at Flemington, which carries out more than 50,000 tests per year from race horses and greyhounds, will receive the funding boost to invest in sophisticated new machinery and equipment to remain at the cutting edge of drug screening in Australia and internationally.

RASL takes blood, hair and urine samples to test for different banned substances, including peptides, proteins and cobalt.

The laboratory is one of only five in the world that meets strict drug testing expertise standards recommended by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.

Victoria’s racing industry, across thoroughbred, harness and greyhounds racing, has increased its testing by more than 50 percent over the past three years.

A total of 14,140 samples were taken during the 2016/17 thoroughbred racing season and analysed for prohibited substances, with 3.468 blood and urine samples analysed during the 2016 Spring Racing Carnival.

This includes an average of 50 percent of starters across metropolitan race meetings being tested during the 2016 Spring Racing Carnival.

The Victorian racing industry sustains 26,500 full-time jobs and generates more than $2.8 billion to the state economy each year.

Martin Pakula, Victoria’s Minister for Racing, believes that the investment in RASL is crucial for the integrity of racing.

“The integrity of racing is paramount – the industry employs tens of thousands of people and generates billions of dollars for the Victorian economy,” Pakula said.

“RASL is a global leader when it comes to research and drug testing in racing. This funding will help to ensure the laboratory can keep up with emerging trends in international doping.”

The latest investment builds on the Labor Government’s $1.5 million contribution throughout 2015 and 2016 to support research and upgrade equipment at the laboratory.

Since 2014, the Labor Government has delivered more than $3.1 million through the Victorian Racing Industry Fund.

The Racing Analytical Services laboratory is matching the Government’s contribution dollar for dollar.

Dr John McCaffrey, RASL Chairman, believes that the latest investment from the Government will help the laboratory maintain its world-class reputation.

 “We are delighted the Victorian Government is continuing its partnership with RASL, to help enable us to meet the ongoing challenge of staying at the forefront of drug testing in racing and maintain our world-class reputation,” Dr McCaffrey said.

By Shane Anderson

Reprinted with permission of racing .com

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