Romanet spoke of the IFHA’s commitment to both issues during the session, which also featured a presentation from world sports medicine expert Dr Perikles Simon, under the heading 'Leveling the Doping Field'.
"The IFHA must be proactive. The integrity of racing and horse welfare are absolute priorities,” Romanet said before detailing two significant elements of IFHA policy which he said had been universally endorsed.
"The first is agreement on control of medications including international screening limits and detection times. The second is a commitment to the detection of doping agents and prohibited practices in and out of competition. The IFHA supports a total ban on raceday medication and bans on anabolic agents throughout a horse's career," Romanet said.
Delegates heard that it is vital to the credibility of horse racing that everything is done to keep the sport ‘clean’ and retain the confidence of its participants, its fans and, crucially for racing’s finances, those who wager on horseracing - while noting that racing is far from the only sport facing this issue.
Dr Simon, from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany, is a sports medicine and molecular biologist who is at the cutting edge of the fight against doping in sport. He was one of the original seven-member ‘Gene Doping’ group of experts within the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), charged with developing strategies for the prevention and detection of non-therapeutic use of gene protein in sport.
Dr Simon said that he was confident science could win the war against drugs provided other factors could be overcome. “While there may well be some drugs or combinations of drugs and methods of which the anti-doping community is unaware, the science now available is both robust and reliable. The real problems are human and political factors,” he said, noting that total revenue generated by elite sports dwarfed the amount spent on new detection procedures.
Presentations were also made by: Dr Yves Bonnaire, General Manager of the French Racing Laboratory, who gave an update on prohibited substances; Dr Seungho Ryu, International Racing Manager of the Korea Racing Authority, who outlined drug control in Korea; and Dr Paul Marie Gadot, Head of the Horses and Control Department of France Galop, whose subject was immunocastration and regularity of racing.
In a discussion which concluded this session. Mr James Gagliano, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Jockey Club was questioned about the situation in America, Mr Gagliano said: “Recent events have further galvanised our spirit to improve in all areas. The industry requires consumer confidence and trust and the welfare of the horse is a high priority,” he said.