Racing: Why nothing could be easier than nobbling a racehorse
Wednesday 28 January 1998
A trainer has a hundred ways to prevent his horse from winning and they are all pretty simple, ranging from fitting its shoes too tight or giving it a belly-filling bucket of water, but more usually running it on firm ground when it needs soft, on a left-hand track when it prefers to race right-handed, or just letting it take part when it is too fat and unfit to do itself justice.
This is all designed to fool the official handicapper and the betting public about the horse's merit; saving it for a day when it has a lighter weight to carry and the money is down.
For the doper these methods are not possible and a different outcome sought. The doper is aiming either to slow a horse down so that he can back others in the race or, if he is a bookmaker, so that he can take bets on the doped horse without fear.
The prospective doper requires access to the right drugs and access to horses at the right time. The favoured drug of the Nineties, the one used in the Avanti Express and Lively Knight cases and on two horses at Doncaster in 1990, is frighteningly easy to obtain and can be found in every racing stable in the land.This is Acetylpromazine, ACP, a fast-acting mild tranquilliser used to sedate a horse on occasions such as when it is having its coat clipped. It is obtainable only from vets but is so frequently used that it is usually kept in quantity in stables and not necessarily under lock and key.
ACP can be administered by injection but is more commonly given in tablet form. Just like drugs used on humans, its effects vary widely. While one horse might be almost unaffected, another might be out on its feet on the same dose. The dangers of giving ACP to horses that are about to take part in a race, and in the cases of Avanti Express and Lively Knight about to jump fences, are clear.
ACP is at its most effective about an hour after it is administered so the doper must obtain access to the horse at the track. Effectively, that means in the course stables and, after the 1990 cases, security at Britain's 59 tracks was improved greatly. Nevertheless with hundreds of stable staff coming and going the possibilities of a doper slipping through the net are clear.
Latest in Sport
Dan Hardy column: Is the hype around UFC sensation Conor McGregor justified?
Humiliated Brazil look to continue recovery at Arsenal
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores ridiculous headed goal after blocking Moldova goalkeeper's clearance
England vs Lithuania match report: Harry Kane fires in first Three Lions goal just 78 seconds into debut to put icing on the cake
'God, she's beautiful': Embarrassment for basketball player Nigel Hayes after microphone picks up comment about female reporter
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...