High summer, long hot days, hay being made, lovely but not ideal for working as I sit in the office gently perspiring. Morphine is the big subject in racing this week, several high profile horses have tested positive including the Queen’s Estimate in the Ascot Gold Cup.
If as expected the “B” samples confirm these findings then disqualification is automatic; embarrassing and a loss of prestige but it is likely connections will be compensated financially and personally I think it is not necessarily a bad thing to have this issue highlighted, a few years ago Be My Royal was disqualified after winning the Hennessy Gold Cup, it was subsequently confirmed that traces of morphine were present due to wild poppies growing in the fields which were growing the Red Mills product used by Willie Mullins. Willie took the position that the traces were so infinitesimal that they couldn’t possibly affect performance and therefore he thought he should keep the race, his appeal failed. I share his view and I think the racing authorities need to be more pragmatic in these circumstances.
This time round it is Dodson & Horrell that appear to have morphine traces in one of their alfalfa based products, I use a D&H product that contains alfalfa and am of course hoping that the alfalfa present was sourced elsewhere. I’m a big fan of alfalfa and interestingly 4 years ago I was looking at importing baled alfalfa from France with the late Dougal Low-Mitchell, he already did this and was looking for someone to share artic loads, I was very keen on the idea but on speaking to the producer in France I discovered that they also grew opium poppies which they supplied to the pharmaceutical industry for the production of morphine – all the equipment was thoroughly cleaned but he could not give me a cast iron guarantee that there would be no traces present hence I didn’t go ahead but I’m glad he told me! Anyway, a lot more to come on this I suspect, no runners this week, one entry – Humphrey Bee – at Perth next week. Some old faces and some new ones….