The British Horse-racing Association has confirmed that they have opened an investigation into the positive testing of cobalt in horses, according to a report on the Racing Post.

The BHA’s director of integrity and race-day operations Brant Dunshea confirmed that the regulator was concerned about the positive testing of cobalt in Britain.

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Cobalt is naturally present in horses but has the potential to enhance performance when present at concentrations exceeding normal levels.

It has been proven to increase the number of red cells in the blood which carry oxygen around the body, therefore helping to maintain the peak performance of the horse for a longer period of time.

Dunshea said:

The overwhelming majority of samples that were retrospectively tested were negative, but there were some lines of inquiry we’re following up in relation to that. We do have one matter under investigation.

I can’t speak about the specifics of the investigation but we do have one matter under investigation.

Although the majority of the samples that were tested were negative, there were still some which were positive which is why the investigation has been launched.

There has been a history of using cobalt in horse racing, with trainer Stephen McConville and his son Michael, owner and intended rider of Anseanachai Cliste, disqualified for three years for injecting the horse with increased levels f cobalt, even though they claimed they were unaware.