Racing: Pipe repeats demands over hygiene

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The Independent Online

Martin Pipe reiterated his call for better hygiene in dope-testing boxes on racecourses yesterday. The champion trainer clashed with officials at Haydock on Thursday after refusing to allow his beaten odds-on favourite Tanterari to be tested in the sampling unit.

Pipe feared that the box, which is used by all horses being tested, could be a possible cause for the spread of disease or infection.

Although Pipe is not satisfied with the facilities, he underlined yesterday that it is not the testing itself he has a problem with. "I have done it [not allowed horses into the box] before, but I want to make it perfectly clear I am not objecting to having my horses tested," he said.

"I have never refused to take a test. I am just concerned about the risk of infection within the boxes. I would like to see some improvements made. You only have to look at poor Jonjo O'Neill, who has been off for two months. I would imagine it concerns all trainers.

"Lots of people have phoned to support me on this, including Henrietta Knight and Harvey Smith, and what we want is better testing for the horses."

Pipe also pointed out that he refused to allow his runners at Sandown last Friday or Lingfield on Saturday into the boxes, but those horses were eventually tested in the racecourse stables. "I have had horses that have been tested in the stables, including two at Lingfield, and I know I am not the first trainer that has had horses that don't want to go into the box," he added.

"I can't see any reason why the boxes can't be cleaned and disinfected between uses. I went in Harrods the other day, where they were selling chocolates and putting on gloves to pick them up. It's really just a simple thing. I think this is an important issue for the benefit of horses and racing."

Pipe now faces a Jockey Club hearing over events at Haydock and it is possible he could receive a fine of anywhere between £2,500 and £12,000. John Maxse, public relations director for the Jockey Club, is hoping for a swift resolution of the case. "We are hoping to stage a hearing at the earliest opportunity," he said.