Jim Bolger: Trainer invited before Irish parliamentary committee to 'substantiate or put to bed' doping claims

Jim Bolger has said he knows the identity of racing's doping cheats; Ireland's Agriculture Committee chair Jackie Cahill says Bolger's claims must be "substantiated or put to bed"; IHRB says it has a "zero-tolerance approach" to doping

Trainer Jim Bolger
Image: Jim Bolger claims to know the identity of doping cheats in Irish racing

Trainer Jim Bolger is to be invited before an Irish parliamentary committee investigating claims of doping in the horse racing industry, it has been confirmed.

Agriculture Committee chair Jackie Cahill said Mr Bolger's claims were doing "serious reputational damage" to the industry and that it was important they are either "substantiated or put to bed".

The Fianna Fail TD for Tipperary confirmed that committee members had decided to ask Mr Bolger and representatives of Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board, Horse Racing Ireland, the Department of Agriculture and the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association to discuss the matter on July 6.

Get racing news on your phone

Get racing news on your phone

Never miss a story with all the latest racing news, interviews and features on your phone. Find out more

Earlier this month, Mr Bolger outlined his concerns about the possibility of doping within Irish racing in both a newspaper interview and in a racing podcast.

It prompted the IHRB to underline its commitment to "the highest standards of integrity within Irish racing" and a "zero-tolerance approach to doping".

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Bolger believes the issue of drugs cheats in Irish racing means there is not a 'level playing field'

Mr Cahill said it is "hugely important" that the accusations are investigated given Ireland's horse racing reputation.

"We're seen as the world leaders in horse racing. For a small country our success is phenomenal," he said.

Also See:

IHRB response to Jim Bolger's comments
Image: IHRB response to Jim Bolger's comments

"We really punch above our weight and for a lead trainer - Jim Bolger - to say that there would be a Lance Armstrong incident in Irish racing is extremely serious. It just can't be ignored it must be dealt with."

He added: "In my view he has to either confirm it or withdraw it. It's doing serious reputational damage.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Journalist Paul Kimmage says Bolger is 'credible' and offers the sport its best chance to resolve the issue

Mr Cahill said there is an "obligation" on the committee to investigate the claims.

"The way we look at this is this issue either has to be substantiated or put to bed," he said.

Jim Bolger

"You can't having a doping insinuation like that hanging over the industry."

"We'll see what Mr Bolger has to say and we'll listen to the various authorities and see where we go from there."

A spokesperson for the IHRB said: "We would welcome the opportunity to meet with the deputies on the Oireachtas Committee and explain details of what we do in terms of equine anti-doping and our strategies as well as the advances that have been made in this area over the last number of years and more recently."

Follow Sky Sports Racing on Twitter

Follow Sky Sports Racing on Twitter

See the latest horse racing news, interviews and features from Sky Sports Racing

Around Sky