A few words are in order concerning the story reported today that Brazilian, German, Irish and Norwegian horses competing in Olympics show-jumping trials have been found with performance-enhancing drugs in their systems.
The offending substance – capsaicin – is not derived from chillies, as is claimed in many news reports. Capsaicin is chilli. Or rather it is the active ingredient that gives the diminutive peppers their oomph. So is capsaicin a “performance-enhancing drug”? I think this stretches the definition somewhat. There is the possibility that a chilli pepper shoved up a horse’s arse will give the beast a bit of a kick, but surely the results would be too unpredictable to be of use by sporting cheats.
What’s next – banning athletes from eating curry the night before a race? Or, indeed, ever? That would certainly be the end of British sport, given that the national dish is chicken tikka massala.