British racing authorities have imposed what they call a zero-tolerance policy toward anabolic steroids, with horses testing positive for the drugs to receive an automatic 14-month ban.
The changes have been announced by the British Horseracing Authority.
The revised policy marks the end of a project started in 2013 to establish how British Racing would meet, or exceed, new international minimum standards on steroid use.
The project included scientific research and consultation across the global racing industry and externally, led by Sandy Love, professor of equine clinical studies at Glasgow University.
Key elements of the newpolicy are:
- A horse must not be administered an anabolic steroid at any point in its life.
- Any horse given an anabolic steroid will face a mandatory stand-down period from training for 12 months and be ineligible to start in any race in Britain for 14 months.
- All horses must be available for testing at any time, regardless of physical location and whose care the horse is under, from the time it is first registered with Weatherbys.
- All British-bred horses must be registered with Weatherbys within 12 months of birth, phased to six months in two years. Permanently imported horses must be registered with Weatherbys within three months of arrival in Britain accompanied by a sample that shows no evidence of anabolic steroid administration.
- Runners from Ireland, France and Germany will be treated as British runners because of the drugs policies in place in those countries.
British Horseracing Authority chief executive Paul Bittar said the new rules were intended to ensure that British racing remained at the forefront of tackling the drug threat.
“It is intended to ensure that the industry, racing and betting public can be reassured that all races which take place on British soil are done so on a level playing field.
“It is also hoped that this will be another step towards global harmonisation across the sport.”
Bittar said that racing globally was now in a much better place when it came to the regulation of anabolic steroids.
The intention is for the policy to be implemented by January 1.
The authority’s director of raceday operations and regulation, Jamie Stier, said: “We have attempted to address every possible angle in the development of this policy but, while the objectives will remain the same, the policy itself will always remain open for review and further enhancements if required.
“The methods and approaches to regulating the use of anabolic steroids are something which racing, and any sport, must always look to be evolving.”