ALL licensed trainers can expect a visit from the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board inspectors, says IHRB chief executive Darragh O’Loughlin.

He made the comment at this week’s anti-doping seminar which was attended by trainers, stable staff and veterinary surgeons.

Asked by assistant trainer James Griffin why some trainers are never inspected while others receive multiple visits, O’Loughlin replied: “That’s a reasonable observation and one I would make myself. I would anticipate that every trainer will get the proverbial knock on the door. It is reasonable that everyone who is licensed can expect to meet inspectors on their own premises.”

Since May 2021, IHRB inspectors have ‘authorised officer’ status from the Department of Agriculture, meaning that they have the right to enter any equine premises on the island without advance warning, including stud farms.

In the second half of 2021 the IHRB inspected 141 yards (licensed and unlicensed) and so far this year they have visited 179 yards.

IHRB senior veterinary assistant Colleen Murphy explained to seminar attendees how inspections were carried out. She said the IHRB maintains a risk register which grades trainers on a traffic light system. High-risk yards are visited more often than ‘green light’ premises.

On inspection days only the team leader will know the location of the yard which is about to be visited when the team meets. On arrival at a yard the inspectors present their warrant cards and introduce themselves. The trainer or their representatives have the opportunity to ask questions.

The inspectors examine the premises, the horses and the medicines on site. “When we look at the premises we are looking mainly at the risk of disease in the environment,” Murphy said. “We assess the security of the horses and the people, checking if all staff are registered and if the stable staff bonus scheme details are displayed.”

All horses on the premises are identified, especially those returned in training. Passports and the medicines register are examined. Murphy said: “We take an inventory of the medicines held on-site, the labels and prescriptions. We also look for unregistered medicines and over-the-counter products.” Trainers are advised not to keep ‘in case’ medicines.

She said the IHRB has found that trainers have a good understanding of the rules of racing. “A lot of yards are good at complying with the rules and have excellent record-keeping, though there is room for improvement in some areas.”