Followers of this blog will realise I have had by doubts about the BHA Integrity Department in its previous form for some time. We have had BHA Committee Members administering prohibited race day substances to horses under the impression they would pass a doping control test. We’ve seen panel hearing reports showing that Paul Scotney and Tim Morris didn’t think a base test was necessary which would have cleared a trainer of doping within weeks, but that trainer had to wait two years for the case to be resolved, and still then it wasn’t a satisfactory resolution.
Extracts from “Doping and Medical Control: AWOL within British Racing 2000-2009”
The RCVS even questions the validity of the BHA testing procedures;
“While it is evident from the BHA’s Guidelines that the sensitivity of the tests is in a process of continual development, the Committee is unable to speculate as to why tranexamic acid had not tested positive on horses to which Mr Main had administered it on previous occasions. However, it is satisfied that Mr Main believed at the time he administered the injection that Moonlit Path would not test positive for tranexamic acid.”
Further question marks over the effectiveness of doping control were raised in the recent allegation of milkshaking made against James Boyle. A baseline CO2 test would have enabled accurate conclusions to be drawn but that was deemed “unnecessary” by Paul Scotney, the former Director of Integrity Services, Compliance and Licensing, and Professor Tom Morris, then Director of Equine Science and Welfare.
Both Paul Scotney and Professor Tim Morris have left the British Horse Racing Authority in recent months, during a much needed reconfiguration of the BHA services and structure. Paul Bittar said “We are proud that British Racing is justifiably held in high regard on the subject, but we know there is no room for complacency.”
Extract from “Open Letter to BHA Director of Legal, Integrity and Risk”
4) Professor Morris said in his written statement that he believed that testing for tranexamic acid had been in place for some time. He also said that he was aware of only one other instance of a horse testing positive in March 2009, which was shortly after Moonlit Path’s positive test.
Obviously the tests upto to February 2009 were either too infrequent, or not upto standard. Was there any noticeable change in testing procedures between 2003 and February 2009?
8) The Committee carefully observed Mr Main when he was asked questions about the use of the term “pre-race check” and observed his obvious unease. Any disagreement Mr Main may have had with the BHA’s rules of racing did not justify him perpetuating a practice that he knew was designed to conceal from the BHA that tranexamic acid had been administered to a horse on a race day.
Extract from “Day 335 at the BHA House…”
Paul Scotney will step aside from his full-time role with effect from 14th December 2012, but as part of a transition plan will remain a part of the BHA’s ability to protect the sport from corruption, providing advice on investigations and strategy.
BHA Chief Executive, Paul Bittar, said the decision for Paul Scotney to transition from his current full-time role was agreed mutually and arose during their discussions in reviewing the BHA Integrity operations, future needs and structure.
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced today that Professor Tim Morris, Director of Equine Science and Welfare, is to leave the organisation. His departure forms part of the ongoing restructure of BHA services, led by Chief Executive Paul Bittar.
Paul Bittar, BHA Chief Executive, said:
“Reconfiguring the BHA services and structure is an evolutionary process and further work will be done with Tim in the coming weeks to imbed the new structure for Veterinary Operations combined with our important role in medication control.
Professor Tim Morris and Paul Scotney deemed further testing to establish a baseline TCO2 reading for the gelding as unnecessary. Their titles again; Director of Equine Science and Welfare and Director of Integrity Services, Compliance, and Licensing.
So how did the Mahmood Al Zarooni raids come about. Well Paul Bittar stated it was mix of random testing programme and intelligence. The question journalists should be asking Bittar is during the period under Paul Scotney’s stewardship, how often was intelligence not acted upon or ignored? Six months after two former heads of departments leave the British Horseracing Authority, the biggest doping scandal to hit British racing is uncovered. That’s a worrying coincidence.