The Andrews Labor Government is ramping up the fight against performance-enhancing substances in racing, with a $1.6 million investment in a world-class drug testing laboratory in Flemington.
The Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) laboratory takes blood, hair and urine samples from race horses and greyhounds to test for prohibited substances.
The laboratory carries out more than 50,000 tests each year and its equipment is capable of detecting hundreds of different banned substances – including peptides, proteins and cobalt.
The funding will go towards sophisticated new machinery and equipment to ensure Racing Analytical Services laboratory remains at the cutting edge of drug screening in Australia and internationally.
It is one of only five laboratories in the world to meet strict drug testing expertise standards recommended by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities. The three Victorian racing codes – thoroughbred, harness, and greyhound racing – have increased their testing by more than 50 per cent over the past three years.
In the 2016-17 thoroughbred racing season, 14,140 samples were analysed for prohibited substances in Victoria and a total of 3,468 blood and urine samples were analysed during the 2016 Spring Racing Carnival. On average, 50 per cent of the starters across metropolitan race meetings were tested during the 2016 Spring Racing Carnival.
The investment will help to protect the integrity of the racing industry which generates more than $2.8 billion for the economy and helps to sustain more than 26,500 full-time jobs.
The announcement today 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.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Racing Martin Pakula
“The integrity of racing is paramount – the industry employs tens of thousands of people and generates billions of dollars for the Victorian economy.”
“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.”
Quote attributable to Member for Essendon Danny Pearson
“This investment will ensure Flemington continues to be home to one of the world’s best laboratories for racing.”
Quote attributable to Racing Analytical Services Limited Chairman Dr John McCaffrey
“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.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020