British Racing’s enhanced, Equine Anti-Doping Rules, which include a zero-tolerance approach to anabolic steroids, have today been published by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) after an extensive period of development. The Rules will be implemented on 2 March 2015.
The BHA has implemented a programme of contact with those who the new Rules might affect, both domestically and internationally, to ensure that there exists awareness across world racing of the requirements of the Rules. This includes the publication of a comprehensive Guide which explains what those who are responsible for a horse must do to ensure they adhere to the Rules.
This Guide has been distributed to relevant bodies both domestically and internationally, as well as being sent directly to all licensed trainers and registered owners in Britain. The Guide is available for download atwww.britishhorseracing.com/resource-centre/anti-doping-medication-control/equine-anti-doping-rules-and-guidance/.
The enhanced zero-tolerance 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 world sport. Included amongst the Rules are: that a horse must never be administered with an anabolic steroid at any time from birth to retirement; greater powers for the 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; more stringent penalties for horses found to have been administered with anabolic steroids; and greater controls on horses running in Great Britain from international jurisdictions.
The publication of the Rules marks the conclusion of a project initiated in 2013 to establish how British Racing would not only adhere to, but exceed where possible, the international minimum standards on steroid use, as published by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) in October 2013.
Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the BHA, said:
“The publication of the new Rules marks another step on the journey for both British Racing and the Racing community internationally, which has included the BHA undertaking a lengthy and ongoing consultation and engagement with racing bodies around the world.
“Following the events of 2013 it was essential that the BHA ensured that British Racing would remain at the forefront of a critical topic for not only Racing but all modern sports. The enhanced, zero-tolerance Rules represent exactly that.
“By ‘zero-tolerance’ we mean that no horse should ever be administered an anabolic steroid or similar substance for as long as it is involved in racing, with no exceptions. This policy is supported by the enhanced powers which we can now call upon both to regulate the sport and to deter those who believe they can succeed in circumventing the Rules.
“As well as the enhancement of our own Rules, the BHA has adopted a leadership role internationally which was integral to the introduction of the IFHA’s minimum standards. The March implementation date does not mark the end of this process. The BHA will continue this role and ensure that British and international Racing does all within its power to remain at the forefront of combating doping. We hope that the steps we have taken will lead other nations to follow suit and implement Rules that are as stringent as ours, for the good of the sport and the horse.
“There is no current evidence that the use of anabolic steroids or other similar substances is endemic in British racing. We showed in 2013 that when it does take place we are able to detect it and act on it. But we must never be complacent.”
Jamie Stier, Director of Raceday Operations and Regulation for BHA, said:
“The new Rules mean that there are extended responsibilities for owners, trainers and breeders to ensure that they comply with the zero-tolerance Policy. However, we have taken care to ensure that these are not overly onerous and that the correct communication and support is in place.
“Similarly, connections of international runners now have extra responsibility when running horses in Britain. We do not anticipate this being a major barrier to international horses competing here and we discussed the Policy and Rules at length with the relevant racecourses to ensure their support of the strategy before it was published. It was agreed by all that it was a necessary step to ensure a level playing field at our highest profile events.”
Rupert Arnold, Chief Executive of the National Trainers Federation (NTF), said:
“The BHA has produced a very comprehensive guide to the new Equine Anti-doping Rules. The NTF has been working with the BHA to ensure the guide is clear. We are pleased to have contributed and are grateful to the trainers who have given us helpful feedback. Inevitably implementing the rules creates additional paperwork for all those affected but we, in co-operation with the BHA, have done everything possible to make it as practical as possible. The Equine Anti-doping policy has the potential to influence the racing and bloodstock industries internationally. It is right that British racing takes the lead in this area and we support the BHA wholeheartedly.”
Richard Wayman, Chief Executive of the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), said:
“The ROA fully supports the BHA’s anabolic steroids policy and we welcome their efforts to make owners aware of the implications and responsibilities under the new rules. Although there is no reason to believe these substances are prevalent within our sport, it is important that, in addition to the detailed information set out in the Guide, the BHA has set up a facility so owners can get any queries answered, either on the phone or via email. We’ll also use our own communication channels to help ensure ROA members understand the changes as well as the steps that can be taken to manage risk including in relation to the purchase of horses and also when stabling horses with somebody other than a trainer who may not be aware of the new rules.”
Louise Kemble, Chief Executive of the Thoroughbred Breeders Association (TBA) said:
“The TBA continues to support the BHA in its development of the Rules and procedures which will underpin the clear view that there cannot be a place in horseracing for anabolic steroids. We will work with the BHA to ensure that British breeders have all the information they need to ensure that they can continue their business of producing the horses on which the Industry relies within these important new requirements.”
In the longer term, hair sampling will form an important part of the BHA’s testing procedures which underpin the new Rules, alongside existing blood and urine tests. Hair sampling allows for the detection of substances administered over a much longer period than blood and urine. It has been used on an occasional basis for some time and this will continue to be the case, however as the Rules mature over time this sampling method will form a more regular part of the BHA’s testing procedures.
Jamie Stier added:
“The use of hair sampling will prove to be a significant tool in our armoury. The ability to detect substances which have been administered over an extended timeframe will present opportunities and a level of deterrence which was not previously in place. The objective of the new Rules is not that they will be imposed retrospectively and thus we do not see hair sampling being used extensively upon implementation, but it will become more prevalent as time goes by and the new Rules bed in.”
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