| Published in Sunday Independent on 10.10.2020 | A Touch of Frost |

The horse racing industry received news this week that positive dope tests had been linked to horse feed produced by Gain Horse Feeds. The outcome being that owners across the country who use the brand having to withdraw their horses from racing. Unfortunately, that included us.

Illustration for Touch of Frost, 10.10.2020

Contaminated horse feed stops us racing

An investigation pointed to a common denominator in the five positive cases found with all being fed the brand Gain Equine Nutrition.

The substance Zilpaterol is prohibited under the BHA Rules of Racing. It is used in the USA along with some other countries as an animal feed to promote weight gain but is it not permitted in the EU. This means that trainers using Gain Equine Nutrition will not be able to enter their horses into races until there is no longer any substance traces found in their systems. Financially this comes as a further blow to our industry which is already suffering from the impact of Covid.

The BHA have advised owners to thoroughly clean all food bowls and feed equipment with detergent and plenty of water. Elective testing of horses to check that all remains of Zilpaterol has cleared from the horse will be at the expense of the trainers and will cost approximately £133.61 plus VAT for each sample test. Not cheap particularly when you have a lot of horses. We are of course doing all we can to eliminate any traces from our yard and hope that after a few days and a change of food we will be back to normal. In the meantime it has been highly disappointing for members of our Owners’ Club who will not be able to enjoy watching their horses race for a while, especially as we had hoped to compete both Saintemillion and Simple Words at Exeter this week.

Back at home we celebrated, or in this case, not celebrated Nikki’s birthday. I had planned to take her breakfast in bed but due to problems with the bank, we ended up having to spend hours at the breakfast table sorting paperwork. About ten coffees later and our wonderful accountant Chris Jones from Best Accounting Services in Newton Abbot, had sorted everything for us. With much of the day gone, Nikki set off to deliver Hadden’s horses to the company who are transporting his horses to the USA. As a family we are not good at celebrating birthdays generally but even for us this was worse than usual. I have promised to make it up to her.

Back to proper work now. The rain is heavy, and autumn has most definitely arrived. How quickly the seasons change.

Until we catch up again next week, wear your mask in public, remain social distancing and importantly be kind to each other.