Newmarket: Firm wins contract to dope test horses at Olympics and Paralympics

A Newmarket company has won the contract to carry out dope tests on every horse competing in the Olympics and Paralympics.

HFL Sport Science has been analysing samples at their Fordham laboratory to test for steroids, stimulants, masking agents, painkillers or any other preparations.

Experts say there are up to 2,000 banned substances and HFL has dozens of chemists and biochemists at the sports drugs surveillance unit to analyse blood and urine samples.

Jeremy Cook, managing director of parent company LGC, said: “We are proud to be playing a small but important role in the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games.”

HFL was first accredited for such stringent testing 20 years ago “and therefore has a record of continuous achievement in meeting an international standard of excellence” said Mr Cook.

Dr Catherine Judkins, business development manager for HFL, said: “We’re responsible for carrying out the anti-doping tests for the equestrian events, so that’s dressage, show jumping and three-day eventing.

“It’s been very busy over the last few weeks and especially the last few days.”

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She added: “It’s not just about the drugs. It’s a welfare issue as well. We need to know the horse is being treated well and isn’t being propped up by any medications.”

The centre has just received a visit from Robert Study, MEP for the East of England, who said he was “fascinated to see how technology is being adapted for the benefit of animals and mankind and that the future of the equine industry is reassuringly well protected.”

HFL Sport Science – founded nearly 50 years ago- became part of LGC Group, an organisation specialising in health sciences, forensics and genomics, in 2010.