British horse racing will not suffer commercial damage from recent doping scandals if it shows it can handle them effectively, the head of the sport's governing body said on Tuesday.
But given the very challenging economic environment, the sport does need more money from Britain's bookmakers to sustain the number and quality of races, British Horseracing Authority (BHA) chief executive Paul Bittar said.
"I have spoken to a number of major sponsors and other investors in the sport over the last six weeks and for them ultimately it comes down to a confidence in the sport itself…if they have that confidence then I think their investment is certainly sustainable," Bittar told a news conference.
Last month, trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni was banned for eight years for doping horses. Two other Newmarket trainers have since said they treated some of their horses with a medication containing a banned steroid. And late last year Frankie Dettori was banned for six months after failing a dope test.
In related news, British horse racing has weathered the impact of recession and reduced payments from the betting industry thanks to an increase in the value of media rights, the BHA and business services group Deloitte said in a report.
The sport had a total value to the UK economy of £3.45 billion ($5.36 billion) in 2012, according to the report. That was slightly higher than the figure from 2008, the last time it was calculated.