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British Horseracing Authority pauses saliva testing programme

Wed 28 Sep 2022

The British Horseracing Authority has paused its saliva testing pilot programme in the wake of Sean Levey’s false positive test recently.

Levey was stood down from riding at Sandown on September 14 due to “medical reasons”, and he was also prevented from riding in the final night of the Racing League 24 hours later, in which he was leading the individual jockey standings at the time, which carried a £20,000 first prize.

He immediately requested a urine sample which subsequently came back negative.

Levey returned to action on September 23 at Haydock having earlier released a statement saying he felt “aggrieved” and that “lessons needed to be learned”.

In a statement the BHA confirmed the saliva tests are not currently being used.

The statement read: “The BHA can confirm that the anti-doping saliva testing pilot programme, which started in May 2021, was paused following a negative laboratory follow-up analysis requested after a point of care racecourse non-negative saliva sample donated by Sean Levey at Sandown on Wednesday, September 14.

“A review of the pilot, which has tested more than 1,300 samples, is now underway to determine what can be learned and agree with the PJA (Professional Jockeys Association) on a combined approach to a robust testing model.

“We will also be working with Sean Levey to determine how his positive sample came about in order to understand what challenges could be faced and different approaches that could be used when testing in the future.

“The pilot was a collaboration with the PJA and there has been a notable reduction in positive cases since its inception. It’s important we incorporate all feedback and make improvements where necessary to ensure we continue keeping racing safe, fair and clean.”

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