Updated Anabolic Steroid Notice

The Australian Racing Board (ARB) has introduced new Rules completely banning the use of anabolic steroids in thoroughbred racehorses, effective from 1 May 2014.

The relevant rules pertaining to the ban on anabolic steroids can be found following this advice. The rules ban the use of "anabolic androgenic steroids" in Thoroughbred horses at any time from birth until retirement. There are no therapeutic exemptions of any kind. The ban applies to all unregistered and registered racehorses until their retirement as a racehorse. Horses of any age can be tested at any time and this includes when spelling and in training and racing. Further, any person who either administers or attempts to administer an anabolic androgenic steroid to a thoroughbred horse at any time commits an offence under these rules.

There are many implications arising from the implementation of these rules, and to assist trainers and veterinarians in their compliance, the following explanatory note is provided.

Which steroids are banned under these rules?

The new rules ban the use of "anabolic androgenic steroids" in Thoroughbred horses at any time from birth until retirement.

"Anabolic androgenic steroids" include those that are currently registered in Australia by the APVMA for use in horses, such as boldenone, ethylestrenol (in Nitrotain), methandriol, nandrolone, stanozolol and testosterone.

Exogenous anabolic androgenic steroids that are banned also include but are not limited to those listed in the WADA prohibited list, such as 1-androstenediol; 1-androstenedione; bolandiol; bolasterone; boldione; calusterone; clostebol; danazol; dehydrochlormethyltestosterone; desoxymethyltestosterone; drostanolone; fluoxymesterone; formebolone; furazabol; gestrinone; 4-hydroxytestosterone; mestanolone; mesterolone; metenolone; methandienone; methasterone; methyldienolone; methyl-1-testosterone; methylnortestosterone; methyltestosterone; metribolone; mibolerone; 19-norandrostenedione; norboletone; norclostebol; norethandrolone; oxabolone; oxandrolone; oxymesterone; oxymetholone; prostanozol; quinbolone; stenbolone; 1-testosterone; tetrahydrogestrinone (THG); trenbolone; and other substances with a similar chemical structure or similar biological effect(s).

Endogenous anabolic androgenic steroids are also banned when administered exogenously, and include but are not limited to: androstenediol; androstenedione; dihydrotestosterone; prasterone (dehydroepiandrosterone or DHEA); and testosterone; and their metabolites and isomers.

Altrenogest (in, for example, Regumate) is still permitted to be used in fillies and mares to regulate their oestrus cycle.

Which horses are affected by these rules?

The use of anabolic androgenic steroids will be banned from birth. There are no time or therapeutic exemptions of any kind. The ban applies to all unregistered and registered racehorses until their retirement as a racehorse. Horses can be tested at any time and this includes when spelling and in training and racing.

Can I have anabolic steroids present in my stables or on my property even when prescribed by a veterinarian?

No – the possession of any anabolic androgenic steroid, including oral paste preparations such as Nitrotain, at any premise used in relation to the training and racing of horses will be considered an offence under the new rules. Further any person who either administers or attempts to administer an anabolic androgenic steroid to a thoroughbred horse at any time commits an offence under these rules.

How will compliance with this ban be enforced by Principal Racing Authorities?

Compliance with these rules will be enforced by Principal Racing Authorities through regular stable inspections, inspections of medications and medication records and regular out of competition testing of Thoroughbred horses, as well as through routine race day sampling.

Any registered horse that tests positive at any time for a banned anabolic androgenic steroid will not be eligible to trial or race for 12 months from the date of collection of the sample.

Any unregistered horse that tests positive at any time for a banned anabolic androgenic steroid will not be eligible to trial or race for 12 months from the later of a) the date on which the horse, having been registered, is allowed to start in a race or b) the date of collection of the sample.