The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today announced that full implementation of the sport's enhanced, zero-tolerance policy regarding the use of anabolic steroids has been put back, with implementation intended for March 2015.
The reason for the deferral is to allow more time to work with stakeholders, trainers and owners in particular, to clarify certain elements of the new Rules and to secure consensus from all affected parties. These elements include the definition of a “responsible person”, i.e. the individual with the responsibility for ensuring that a horse is not administered with an anabolic steroid at any given time.
These outstanding issues are being resolved in consultation with the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), National Trainers Federation (NTF) and Thoroughbred Breeders' Association (TBA) who today reiterated their support for the zero-tolerance policy and recognised the need to delay the implementation.
The policy, first announced in June 2014, has the objective of ensuring that British Racing remains at the forefront of tackling an issue that ranks amongst the biggest threats faced by any global sport.
The policy includes: that a horse must never be administered with an anabolic steroid at any time, from birth to retirement; greater powers for BHA in terms of access for testing registered horses; the requirement for horses to be registered from a younger age and for BHA to be aware of their whereabouts at all times; a more stringent 14 month stand-down period for horses found to have been administered with anabolic steroids; and greater controls on horses running in Great Britain from international jurisdictions.
Rupert Arnold, NTF Chief Executive, said:
“The National Trainers Federation fully supports the BHA’s general policy on anabolic steroids and we are keen for its implementation to run smoothly. Unfortunately some practical issues remain unresolved so we welcome the BHA’s decision to delay the introduction until these are ironed out. We are committed to working with all the parties involved to ensure the rules and procedures achieve the agreed objectives.”
Richard Wayman, ROA Chief Executive, said:
“The Racehorse Owners Association unequivocally supports a zero tolerance approach to anabolic steroids but we recognise application of the new policy is not without its challenges including, for example, establishing who is responsible for a horse when it is not stabled with its trainer or owner. Delaying implementation for a short period of time to allow such issues to be fully worked through is eminently sensible as the priority must be to ensure the new Rules operate as intended and also that they are fully communicated to those directly involved before they become effective.”
Jamie Stier, Director of Raceday Operations and Regulation for BHA, said:
“This is a complex issue and while we are disappointed not to be in a position to launch on 1 January, I have no doubt that we are doing the right thing in not trying to rush its introduction.
“Extending our regulatory powers beyond that of horses in the care or control of licensed personnel is critical to the success of the policy. It is also critical that there is no scope for any subsequent misunderstandings about who is responsible for a horse at any point before or during its racing career. We appreciate the patience and cooperation of the parties concerned on this matter and we will work with them to find consensus prior to implementation".
It remains the case that horses in the care or control of a trainer are not permitted to be given anabolic steroids, or any other substances which are prohibited at all times. Breeders and vets are also advised that they must ensure no one administers such substances to horses intended for British Racing ahead of the implementation of the new Rules.
It is BHA’s intention that horses born on or after 1 January and intended for British Racing will not be registered without it being declared that they have never been administered with such a substance at any point in their life.
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