RACING is to become the first sport to test participants for banned substances using a saliva test.
Jockeys will be screened using this cheaper and quicker system during a pilot, instead of the current method of testing urine, blood and hair samples.
It means results will be revealed on the day of the test and jockeys could be stood down straight away.
The new system is to be tried in a pilot starting this spring.
It comes as champion jockey Oisin Murphy serves a three month ban for testing positive for cocaine in France. Murphy denies taking the drug.
And weighing room colleague Philip Prince was today banned for six months after testing positive for cocaine last November, with a reading 56 times the threshold.
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Professional Jockey's Association (PJA) are set to increase their funding into the area.
Brant Dunshea, Chief Regulatory Officer for the BHA, said: "This is an exciting and innovative proposal which could have a huge impact on our ability to protect the sport against individuals who are competing while under the influence of prohibited substances.
"We are pleased to be working with the PJA on its development.
"We hope that the use of on-the-day screening, alongside increased testing capacity, will provide greater deterrent to potential offenders and greater reassurance to riders that they are competing in a safe environment, should the pilot be successful."
Saliva testing will be used alongside urine testing with a broad range of substances detectable.
Raceday saliva tests will act as a preliminary screen, and any jockey who tests positive in this manner would then be required to take a confirmatory test for the purposes of any further investigation or disciplinary action.
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Any jockey who returns a positive test will also be contacted by the BHA’s Chief Medical Adviser to discuss any care and support that may be appropriate.
Dunshea added: "There is much more to tackling issues such as substance use than pure regulation.
"The BHA is also working with the PJA to take a wider look at this issue and how we can better educate and protect our participants and rehabilitate those who do become involved.
"We want to encourage a culture of openness within our sport. We want people to have confidence to come forward and speak up about all issues around health and well-being, and will seek to support anyone who faces problems or has found themselves in difficulty.
"We would encourage anyone who is involved with issues around substance use, or know of someone who is, to contact the PJA or the BHA’s Chief Medical advisor Dr Jerry Hill directly, or contact the PJA’s confidential helpline and support network run by Sporting Chance."
Paul Struthers, Chief Executive of the PJA, said: "We need a system that discourages poor decision making in the first place, reduces the chance of addiction developing and encourages people to come forward for support at an earlier stage.
"One aspect of such a system is more testing and it is for this reason that the PJA has been calling for more testing of jockeys for several years.
"We’ve been working closely with the BHA on the proposed pilot of saliva testing and very much welcome it."
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