Racing NSW will form a special unit to help stewards address potential integrity challenges for thoroughbred racing in the state.
To be known as the Investigations and Surveillance Unit, the body will be headed by a person with senior police officer experience with proven investigative skills in intelligence gathering, forensics, surveillance and preparation of briefs of evidence.
Long-serving racecourse detective Bob Nicholson is due to retire later this month and his role will be incorporated in the new unit which will include an investigator with veterinary qualifications whose role will involve providing expertise in operations designed to counter the use of new-age drugs, particularly those that are performance enhancing and are difficult to detect in raceday samples.
The unit will be active in operations aimed at detecting raceday treatments.
Chief steward Ray Murrihy welcomed the formation of the new unit and said he looked forward to forging an even closer liaison with state and federal law enforcement agencies.
Racing NSW chief executive, Peter V’landys, said the unit would complement the $1.5 million investment in additional drug detection equipment that allows the testing for 1000 drugs in a single test.
The unit’s Victorian counterpart has been involved in five high-profile cases during the Melbourne spring carnival regarding prohibited raceday treatments.