Irish racing was dragged back into the headlines for the wrong reasons last week, with the drawn-out case of Philip Fenton reaching something of a conclusion after he was found guilty of charges of possessing steroids amongst other substances. However, this is just the beginning of a battle that the Irish horse racing industry must fight hard and win.
The cases against Philip Fenton, Pat Hughes and John Hughes have been far from ideal from a PR perspective for Irish racing. They resulted in mainstream questioning of the integrity of our sport, as well as plenty of soul searching within the sport as to just how level the playing field is. However, this was not a “Lance Armstrong” moment for the sport. The cases haven’t been so shocking as to fundamentally alter the way the public perceives the sport as the Armstrong case did for cycling, but they were serious enough to make everyone in the industry aware that our sport is not squeaky clean and that action needs to be taken.things must change to clean it up.