New Cobalt-Testing Lab To Fight Performance-Enhancing Drugs In Racing

Victoria has set a new benchmark in the fight against performance-enhancing drugs, with the launch of the state’s first dedicated cobalt-testing facility today.

Minister for Racing Martin Pakula officially opened the $350,000 cobalt-testing laboratory, funded with a $200,000 investment from the Andrews Labor Government.

Racing Analytical Services Ltd’s (RASL) Flemington laboratory has been modified to accommodate the specialist instrument, which takes blood and urine samples to test for cobalt and other metals in horses and greyhounds.

Cobalt is a metal that improves performance by increasing the number of red blood cells, allowing horses to carry more oxygen.

It is the first time a racing laboratory in Victoria has had the capacity to test for cobalt, with samples previously sent interstate or overseas. This will result in faster determination times and greater certainty for punters and participants that any anomalies will be detected and acted upon quicker.

The Labor Government is committed to ensuring integrity is at the forefront across the three racing codes. Technology like this and the new integrity model being developed by Mr Paul Bittar are key steps in the fight to keep Victoria’s racing industry ahead of cheats.

Victoria is the proud leader of Australian racing, generating more than $2.8 billion in economic activity and supporting more than 26,500 full time jobs.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Racing, Martin Pakula

“This dedicated cobalt-testing facility demonstrates the Andrews Labor Government’s commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity in our racing industry.”

“Victoria now has the capacity to test all racing samples for cobalt in-house, making us a global leader in the fight against performance-enhancing substances.”

Quotes attributable to Racing Analytical Services Ltd, Laboratory Director, David Batty

“The introduction of ICP-MS technology to Racing Analytical Services Ltd has been made possible due to a collaborative funding agreement between the Victorian Racing Industry, RASL and the Victorian Government.”

“All blood and urine samples submitted for analysis by the three racing codes will now be screened for a range of inorganic metals, including cobalt. Due to this initiative, the integrity of Victorian Racing will be further enhanced.”

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