Racing: Scudamore attacks Jockey Club on doping

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PETER SCUDAMORE yesterday tore into the Jockey Club's attempts to tackle doping. The champion jockey described as 'disgusting' the statement by Roger Buffham, head of security, linking stable lads with the scandal, and labelled 'ludicrous' new guidelines enabling riders and trainers to withdraw horses they suspect have been doped.

During a press briefing by the Jockey Club on Thursday, Buffham had outlined the difficulties of catching the dopers, saying: 'It's not enough to catch a stable lad with a smoking syringe.'

Speaking on Morning Line on Channel 4, Scudamore responded: 'Poor Nicholas Ridley, who died yesterday, had to resign after making a statement like that. It's disgusting. The stable lads put in so much work, and it shows a total lack of understanding.'

One feature of the Jockey Club's anti-doping initiative was to encourage connections to withdraw any horse showing pre-race 'nobbled' symptoms.

Scudamore said: 'We would do that anyway. It's a ludicrous and unnecessary statement to make. If the dopers put too much tranquiliser in, you are going to know straightaway. They obviously know what they are doing - just enough to relax the horse, to stop it performing to its best. If it stops the horse by four or five lengths, that's all they need to do.'

Scudamore partnered Her Honour when she was doped at Kempton last month. Apart from her appearing relaxed, he noticed nothing unusual before the race.

He said: 'We can't tell from riding them whether they have been doped. She was relaxed, but I felt that was because I had done a good job in relaxing her]'

It would have taken a hefty fix to nail yesterday's two miles five furlongs Berkshire Hurdle winner, Lift And Load, at Newbury. The Richard Hannon-trained six-year- old cut down Flakey Dove without coming off the bit, approaching the last, and sprinted clear on the run-in. Lift And Load, part of a 384-1 treble for the jockey Declan Murphy, is 50-1 with William Hill for Cheltenham's Champion Hurdle (run over two miles) but may, instead, go next at Liverpool.