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NSW Stewards Ask Katsidis To "Name Drug-Takers"
Meanwhile Racing NSW stewards "reacted quickly to claims by Stathi Katsidis that use of ecstasy is widespread within the ranks of jockeys, directly asking him to name names," reported The Sydney Morning Herald. Queensland-based Katsidis (who was in Sydney to ride favourite Military Rose which finished 11th in the $3.5 million Gr1 Golden Slipper) admitted in the newspaper to taking ecstasy in 2008 & claimed "about half of . . . . footy players & jockeys" indulge in the party drug. Chief steward Ray Murrihy immediately contacted Katsidis "asking him to pass on any information he knew about drug use within racing". (Katsidis was suspended for 9 months by Queensland stewards 2 years ago after testing positive for ecstasy; he had earlier failed 2 tests for the banned appetite suppressant Duromine.) Murrihy commented: "It is a serious problem in society & racing is not immune to it. Stathi said he knew nothing about anything going on in Sydney, but we had to ask the question. We are alive to the problem & have stepped up our testing program in the past couple of months. We want to stamp it out from our sport." Katsidis's positive test to ecstasy in 2008 "proved the turning point of a career that had been in danger of spluttering out". The 9-month suspension "prompted Katsidis to reassess his career & shocked him into action". He emphasised: "When I went positive for drugs, I had to do a 2-week rehab course to get 2 months off my sentence. It helped with the way I think about things now. I was lucky because I was an outpatient. They said I wasn't that far gone. I had to drive there every day - 6-days-a-week - and saw where I could end up. I learned it was not really about drugs, but it is about life management. It's the major thing that makes me more dedicated now." And Murrihy noted: "We are improving our testing & trying to not be as predictable. We have started testing away from race days & stable visits & testing on any day of the week is now more common. In racing, the bush telegraph works pretty well with jockeys, because no one wants to be out there with someone who might be endangering themselves & everybody else."