The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board has underlined its commitment to "the highest standards of integrity within Irish racing" and a "zero-tolerance approach to doping" in a statement issued on Monday evening.

Leading trainer Jim Bolger outlined his concerns about the possibility of doping within Irish racing in a newspaper interview on Sunday and in a racing podcast on Monday.

Bolger first commented on the issue last October, telling reporters that doping was the "number one problem" in Irish racing.

At the weekend, he reiterated these comments, telling the Sunday Independent that "there will be a Lance Armstrong in Irish racing."

These comments have drawn a response from racing's regulatory body this evening.

A statement read: "Following comments made recently, the IHRB can once again stress there is a zero-tolerance approach to doping in Irish racing and we operate to the highest level using LGC Laboratories in Newmarket, who are one of five International Federation Horseracing Authorities certified laboratories in the world, and the same laboratory used by the British Horseracing Authority.

"The IHRB will continue our extensive testing programme with 5,000 samples in 2021, once again including every race winner, additional raceday samples, out of competition samples and now also at unlicensed premises following on from the receipt of authorised officer status for 12 employees of the IHRB last month, which allows us to access and sample any thoroughbred at any time in Ireland.

"Each and every one of the samples taken are sent to LGC for analysis and any sample that returns an adverse analytical finding is acted upon, and details published, following our disciplinary process. LGC have been world leaders in anabolic steroid detection for over 60 years and most recently have led detection of these drugs in hair."

The IHRB added that around 25 per cent of samples will be out-of-competition tests, with IHRB authorised officers having visited studs, consignors and pre-training yards in addition to licenced trainers since the end of May.

Denis Egan, CEO of the IHRB said: "There is no room for complacency when it comes to equine anti-doping. The IHRB have shown that by significant increases in testing over the last number of years, and through collaboration with LGC, we have been able to take advantage of the science available.

Brian Kavanagh, CEO of Horse Racing Ireland, added: "Ireland is a global leader in racing and breeding, and that position brings with it a responsibility to always be vigilant when it comes to anti-doping.

"HRI has consistently increased its investment in anti-doping through the IHRB in recent years, and that will continue to be the case.

"This is not a closed industry so I would encourage anybody who believes that there are people operating outside of the rules, to contact the IHRB and make their concerns known."