Racing Victoria have hit back at claims that the state's racing is filled with widespread drug use.

A Melbourne newspaper wrote an article on Sunday indicating that the use of erythropoietin (EPO) was rife among many trainers in Victoria, with the drug allegedly being given to horses to help them run faster.

The article said the drug was difficult to detect during testing, but Racing Victoria hit back at those suggestions in a statement released on Monday.

"Racing Victoria refutes the assertion that EPO use is widespread in Victorian thoroughbred racing," Racing Victoria general manager of integrity Dayle Brown said via the statement.

"We have a robust and active testing regime in place for both EPO and opiate-based stimulants and there is no evidence to indicate the systematic use of either within this state.

"Indeed, the Sunday Herald Sun articles gave little account to the drug testing regime currently in place in Victoria, in particular for EPO, and lacked substance when it came to evidence of the purported widespread drug use.

"We would be naive to think that people haven't and won't push the boundaries to achieve an optimum result, but to suggest that EPO use is widespread is inappropriate given the evidence at hand and the testing in place.

"I would encourage those unnamed trainers that are quoted within the articles to raise their concerns with the integrity department and if they have evidence, to produce it and we will investigate accordingly."

The article also suggested that leading trainers in the state are not targeted for testing, but Brown also refuted these allegations.

"The allegation that our drug testing regime is structured to minimise impact and distort statistics could not be further from the truth. The state's premier trainers are indeed those most tested because they have greater starter numbers and are winning more races," Brown said.

"Our drug testing strategies are wide and varied, encompassing out-of-competition and raceday testing. Those strategies involve random testing across a broad spectrum of trainers and scenarios and target testing based on intelligence and performance.

"One of the key platforms of our program is deterrence and thus any positive swab, be it from a large or small stable, serves as a very important public reminder for all participants that illegal drug use will not be tolerated in this sport."

The latest news comes at a bad time for Racing Victoria, given there is still and enquiry ongoing surrounding an alleged run in between jockey Danny Nikolic and chief steward Terry Bailey.


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