Playing Fair

Drug and Alcohol Testing

Drug and alcohol testing of jockeys is co-ordinated by the Chief Medical Adviser of the BHA. Breath testing is carried out by either a BHA Raceday Assistant (RDA) or an Equine Welfare and Integrity Officer (EWIO) who have undergone appropriate training and urine testing is carried out on behalf of the BHA by Concateno, the largest provider of employment based drug screening in Europe.

The emphasis in racing is on testing jockeys for any product that is performance impairing (e.g. alcohol, cocaine and cannabis). Unlike some sports where the use of a proprietary nasal decongestant could result in a lengthy suspension, the focus is on providing a safe arena for competition in the most dangerous of all professional sports. Any impairment of performance could not only pose a serious risk to the safety of the jockey concerned but it could also put other jockeys’ lives at risk.

A list of banned and notifiable medications can be found in the Key Resources below but as a rule of thumb, any medication other than aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen should be reported to the BHA medical department. Jockeys can contact Dr Jerry Hill, the BHA Chief Medical Adviser, in total confidence for any advice.

Breath testing can be carried out on a flexible basis on any jockey at any race fixture . Anyone failing the test twice will be stood down from riding for the day. Further disciplinary action will depend on the levels of alcohol found.

On urine testing days, up to 12 riders are chosen by ballot and the urine is tested for performance impairing drugs as mentioned above.

Key resources