Jenny - Clean

RACING Queensland has recently conducted an investigation into reports from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (QGRSC) that prednisone and/or prednisolone had been detected in a number of race day urine samples collected around Queensland,.


This investigation was commenced when stewards became concerned with the number and frequency of positive tests to prednisone and prednisolone reported to Racing Queensland by the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre during the early part of 2013.


Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid with anti-inflammatory effects.  It has effects on a number of different cell types and body systems in the horse including the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, central and peripheral nervous, alimentary digestive, endocrine, respiratory and uro-genital systems.


Prednisolone is also a synthetic corticosteroid but it has no anti-inflammatory properties.  In order for it to be effective it must be converted to prednisolone by enzymes in the liver.


Racing Queensland’s investigation into reports of prednisone and prednisolone detections:


Between 1 March and 1 August 2013, the QGRSC reported 6 race day urine samples to contain prednisolone and/or prednisone.  This followed a report from the QGRSC that a urine sample collected in January contained prednisone/prednisolone.  The 7 samples in total were collected from multiple horses trained by 7 different trainers located in different regions of Queensland.


All of the samples in which the QGRSC detected prednisone and prednisolone were subsequently analysed by either Racing Analytical Services Limited or the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory.  Both laboratories confirmed the presence of prednisone and prednisolone in the referee portion of the samples.


Racing Queensland’s investigation into the prednisone and prednisolone reports included inspections of the relevant trainer’s stable premises and analysis of feed samples.  This aspect of the investigation proved unhelpful in determining the cause of the prednisone and prednisolone detections.


A significant issue did however arise during the course of the investigation.  Racing Queensland became aware that the prednisolone internal screening sensitivity level applied by the QGRSC and the referee laboratories in Sydney and Melbourne were not consistent.  Screening sensitivity levels are only applied by the laboratory which analyses the sample first (that is, the referee laboratory does not apply screening sensitivity level, it only analyses the sample to see if a substance is present regardless of level).


Accordingly, Racing Queensland requested the QGRSC to provide advice as to whether each of the 7 samples would be determined to contain prednisone and prednisolone if the referee laboratories’ screening sensitivity level was applied at the time of initial analysis.


Racing Queensland has been informed that 3 of the 7 samples would be reported to contain prednisone and/or prednisolone if the referee laboratories’ screening sensitivity level was applied at the first instance.


The inconsistencies of screening sensitivity levels among the official racing laboratories in Australia has now been rectified.


As a result of this investigation, and after considering independent legal advice, stewards intend to discontinue the cases where the sample would not have been reported by the QGRSC to contain prednisone and/or prednisolone if the referee laboratories’ screening sensitivity level were applied.

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