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Kildare startup’s app to combat racehorse doping

Kildare startup Equine MediRecord has signed a deal with the Breeders’ Cup horse racing championships to provide a digital register for medicines. The startup has developed a software system and mobile app that will let trainers log and monitor medicines administered to horses.

It will provide its digital system to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships – where $31m (€26.4m) in prize purses are at stake – at the Keeneland racecourse in Kentucky next month to ensure all participants are compliant with anti-doping rules.

Horse racing faces pressure to step up its anti-doping protocols with the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act passing the US House of Representatives last month.

The act aims to ensure greater animal welfare and combat drug misuse. The new rules will place greater controls on medicines and establish national standards overseen by the US Anti-doping Agency (USADA).

Once a record is logged in Equine MediRecord’s system, it cannot be altered, said chief executive Pierce Dargan, creating an audit trail on the health of every horse. “There are a lot of rules in various jurisdictions where trainers need to record the medications going into the horses,” Dargan said. “They are responsible for that because the horses are under their care rather than the jockey or the owner.”

Trainers manage the doses administered by assistants and vets and receive mobile alerts when each drug is given, signed with their digital signature. The system generates daily reports that are shared with the championship organisers and regulators detailing the horses’ training and their medicines intake.

Dargan said that the deployment with the world championships is a chance to prove its system can work at a large scale.

“The Breeders’ Cup is an international competition. You have horses from Japan, Argentina, Chile, Canada,” he said. “With this contract we’re going to have the best trainers in those countries using our system. It’s a massive opportunity for us to get the system used by the top trainers from all over the world.”

Equine MediRecord has set its sight on the US as a key market. It has previously worked with the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and recently signed a deal to provide its software to the Thoroughbred Owners of California, a body that represents owners of thoroughbred horses in the state.

Dargan said that Equine MediRecord is already used with around 10,000 horses with between 1,000 and 2,000 trainers, vets and assistants. He added that the startup is raising a funding round to finance further internationalisation.

Sunday Indo Business

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