01/22/2007 1:00AM

Call for quarantine reform


Under the banner "Racing Without Borders," speakers at the 31st Asian Racing Conference in Dubai called on Monday for uniform quarantine and medication rules at the international level.

"We are at a crossroads in many ways," said Mark Player, the Hong Kong Jockey Club's manager of international races. "We have to break down quarantine barriers."

Irish trainer Dermot Weld, as successful as any trainer in the world in shipping horses to foreign lands for big race victories, said that Australia should change its quarantine rules that require a horse be isolated for two weeks at home and for two weeks after arriving in Australia. He also said that "some quarantine facilities in America need to be dramatically improved," and cited Dubai's "excellent system" as setting the international standard. Weld urged racing organizations around the world to work at making their quarantine rules virtually the same.

Adrian Beaumont, director of racecourse services for the Newmarket, England-based International Racing Bureau, stressed the need for standardized medication rules.

"When we talk about medication, we're really talking about America," he said, referring to what are seen as the world's most liberal drug rules in the United States, as opposed to Hong Kong, which has the strictest drug regulations.