The Racing Victoria board is standing pat on the ibuprofen issue - opting to stick to the existing Australian Rules of Racing surrounding the anti-inflammatory drug, reports

The board met on Thursday to discuss the situation and endorsed the recommendation of RV’s Integrity Council to keep the status quo saying there is no legitimate case for allowing any exemption that would compromise the Australian racing industry’s commitment to drug-free racing.

The decision puts the careers of high-profile horses SignoffRib Eye and St Jean - three horses who were treated with the drug to overcome tendon injuries - in significant doubt.

All of those horses have continued to test positive to the drug, which is prohibited on raceday, despite not having been treated with it for months and testing clear of it at different times.

There are a lot of unknowns about the excretion rate of ibuprofen with horses, with some experts believing it gets trapped in the horse’s system and then flushed out after strenuous exercise intermittently.

RV Chairman of Stewards Terry Bailey understands the frustrations of those connections with affected horses but says they can’t compromise on drug-free racing.

“We sympathise with the owners of the small group of affected horses from the one rehabilitation regime, however, Racing Victoria is committed to enforcing the Rules of Racing by governing a sport which sees all horses race free of the effects of drugs,” Bailey said.

“We understand that the use of this substance for the treatment of tendon injuries in racehorses is a complex issue because of prolonged and unpredictable clearance of the drug so we have explored all available options for the affected connections.

“However, the parent drug ibuprofen is being detected in samples obtained from these horses at levels that make it impossible to differentiate between a recent treatment and a level caused by the leaching of the substance from a tissue storage site.

“Ibuprofen is a prohibited substance because of its potential to mask the pain and loss of function associated with inflammation which may increase the risk of injury to both the horse and riders during racing. It also has the potential to improve the racing performance of a sore horse.

“It is for these reasons that all non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are prohibited on race day.

“There is also concern that prolonged, high-dose administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, may have adverse effects on the long-term health of horses.

“There is currently little information available on how the drug is processed by the horse’s body and we are continuing to attempt to better understand its behaviour in horses and why these prolonged and unpredictable clearances have occurred in this group of horses.

“In the immediate future we will continue to work with trainers in facilitating elective testing on the small group of affected horses, however, it will remain the decision of the trainer whether they are satisfied that their horse is free of the substance when presented to race.”