The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is to conduct a full review of the sport’s equine anti-doping rules. 

The decision was approved by the regulator’s Board on Monday this week after it received a briefing on the impact of recent decisions involving anti-doping cases in racing.  

The new independent disciplinary panel, introduced in 2017, has provided impartial and independent scrutiny of the sport’s rules, which the BHA strongly supports.  

However, this has called into question some of the assumptions that have been made across the sport about the obligations on those responsible for the welfare of horses and the penalties for breaking the anti-doping rules.

As a result, the BHA has decided a review is necessary to achieve clarity for all participants, whilst maintaining the commitment to fairness and providing appropriate deterrent to wrong-doing.   

The review will involve consultation with the National Trainers’ Federation (NTF), the Racehorse Owners’ Association (ROA) and other member associations as appropriate. 

The BHA’s Chief Executive Nick Rust said today:

"Leading trainers and the NTF have frequently repeated their support for zero-tolerance of prohibited-at-all-times substances. The BHA agrees that this is the right approach to adopt if racing is to maintain credibility with the betting and viewing public and ensure a level playing field for participants. 

"We need to ensure that our rules are clear about what zero-tolerance means for the obligations on those responsible for horses and the penalties when the rules are broken.

"We want our rules to be fair to all concerned, from trainers who have done nothing wrong through to the punters who need to have confidence that racing is clean. 

"We need to make sure that there is an appropriate deterrent for those who might consider cheating, so that we can protect the interests of their fellow participants – trainers, owners and riders – and the betting public.
 
"We welcome the contribution to the sport from our independent panels and the impartial scrutiny they have brought to the sport’s rules and disciplinary processes. We believe the panel’s decisions will help racing clarify and improve our anti-doping rules.

"It is important for our participants and for our investigative and disciplinary processes that there should be clarity to these rules and consistency to the penalties applied".

The review will commence shortly and should be completed in 2018. Any proposals to change the rules would need to be approved by the BHA Board.