The West

$1.2m to catch racing cheats

WA racing officials have stockpiled swabs from "hundreds" of horses and greyhounds as part of beefed-up integrity measures to hunt cheats out of the industry.

As revealed in _The West Australian _in March, Racing and Wagering WA will from tomorrow implement a range of integrity measures as part of a $400,000 spending increase in the area to $1.2 million for the 2014-15 season.

Stocked swab samples have allowed stewards to build genetic profiles within some of WA's biggest racing stables.

RWWA general manager of integrity Denis Borovica warned he would have no hesitation in using the samples retrospectively if improved detection methods found past wrongdoing.

Samples from big-race winners, particularly, were stored for many years.

"We've been storing samples for a number of years, in the hundreds," Mr Borovica said.

"It gives us a bit of a snapshot in particular stables if levels have suddenly moved in any particular direction. If tomorrow someone said, 'There's this new drug no one has ever heard of and here's the test', we'll go back and check on all those samples.

"The rules provide that it (any past wrongdoing) is treated as if it was yesterday."

Mr Borovica said cheats would not prosper in WA racing, confirming the new spending would almost double to 90 per cent the number of harness-racing winners swabbed next season and included the hiring of a veterinarian to make surprise inspections at stables and kennels.

He revealed stewards had just completed a month-long covert operation to test for the use of cobalt chloride, a performance-enhancing additive that surfaced in the industry on the east coat this year. There were claims it could turn a pacer into a "low-flying jet", but the substance is yet to be proved as a definitive aid in racing and at its most concentrated level is believed to be a threat to the welfare of racing animals.

Mr Borovica said WA stewards and veterinarians were part of an established network of interstate colleagues, allowing them to keep abreast of trends and emerging threats to the industry. He said the State's industry's integrity was as strong as any in Australia.

"We spend a lot of time and effort making sure that cheats don't prosper," he said.

"There is no place for them in racing and I'm very strong in that respect. Racing doesn't keep a secret very well either, everyone hears the buzz so we've got a good handle on what's out there.

"The integrity of racing and the confidence of the punter that it is a level playing field are paramount. As stewards, we will stop at nothing to maintain this confidence and will use every resource at our disposal to do so."

'The rules provide that it (any past wrongdoing) is treated as if it was yesterday.'" RWWA general manager of integrity *Denis Borovica *

The West Australian

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