NHRA monitors doping allegations

The horseracing industry has been rocked by doping allegations.

24 November 2020 | Sports

Jesse Jackson Kauraisa


The Namibia Horseracing Association (NHRA) has warned all horse owners to refrain from injecting their animals with supplements or substances on the day of the race.

This comes in the wake of allegations by insiders who claim some horses are being injected with steroids before races.

An incident which almost led to an ugly brawl between horse owners about a fortnight ago in Rehoboth, where a horse appeared to have been injected in the neck just before a race, has left many horse owners with doubts.

NHRA president Marthinus de Waal played down the allegations, however adding that horses are not to be injected with vitamins on the day of the race.

On guard

“Yes, it is true that there were some allegations made in Rehoboth and we took that with caution.

“At this moment, it is hard to prove that there is any doping involved because these kinds of things are expensive and I do not think there is anyone in Namibia who could do that.

“Having said that, we will be more cautious and horses will be inspected thoroughly for any injection marks before they race,” he said.

Vitamins, painkillers

Many horse owners buy vitamins that are not classified as doping substances, which they use to boost their animals’ performance.

These vitamins are only allowed to be used a day or more before the race.

Meanwhile, there are also incidents were horse owners inject horses with pain medication before the race.

“Some of these guys inject pain medication in their horses in the event that a horse has an injury and the owner really wants their horse to compete.

“These are some of the things racehorse owners must refrain from on the day of the race because it can lead to unwanted speculations,” De Waal noted.

Horse behaviour

The NHRA said it does inspections on horses before they race and can detect whether a substance has been injected.

The behaviour of a horse before a race can also lead to suspicion that the horse could have been injected with steroids.

“We can tell when the horse is not behaving well and when it is just restless that something could be up.

“Like I said, it is hard to prove anything, but we are working towards making sure that horses’ samples are taken in order to have clear cut results about the substance which is in their body.”

Risking a ban

Any horse owner who is found to have injected their horse with a banned substance will risk being banned race events.

“There will be major consequences for anyone who dopes their horses.

“I can tell you now that a person found guilty will be banned from all races for a period of time.

“My message to the people is that they must not even think of doing something so shady at all,” De Waal said.

Racehorse owner Iritjiua Murangi backed the NHRA president for his warning against perpetrators.

“It is good that the NHRA has spoken on this because as racehorse owners, we spend so much money on getting our horses fit for an event.

“That is why it is important that all things are done fairly and the best horse wins based on its natural performance,” he noted.

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