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Monday 29, Dec 2014

  BHA Delay New Policy On Anabolic Steroids

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BHA Delay New Policy On Anabolic Steroids

British racing authorities have delayed the introduction of a new zero-tolerance policy over the use of anabolic steroids.

The British Horseracing Authority officials cited the requirement to gain clarity and consensus around some policy elements. It was remarked full implementation of the new policy on anabolic steroids is now set for March 2015. BHA said it wanted more time to work with trainers, owners, and stakeholders in particular for clarifying specific elements of the new rules and securing consensus from all affected parties.

These elements include the definition of a “responsible person” – the individual with the responsibility to ensure that a horse is not administered with any anabolic steroid at any given time. A trainer is responsible for a horse in his stable while the responsibility switches to the owner in all other cases. However, there is a grey area as horses are transferred between the two.

Jamie Stier, Director of Raceday Operation and Regulation for the BHA, said this is a complex issue. Jamie added while we are disappointed not to be in a position to launch on January 1, he has no doubt we are doing the right thing in not trying to rush its introduction. Stier added 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. He added that extending our regulatory powers beyond that of horses in the care or control of licensed personnel is critical to the success of the policy and 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.

The outstanding issues are being resolved in consultation with the Racehorse Owners Association, the National Trainers Federation, and the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association.

First announced in June 2014, the new policy aims to tackle an issue the BHA believes ranks among the biggest threats faced by any global sport. According to the policy, a horse must never be administered anabolic steroids at any point of time, from birth to retirement.

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. Arnold added unfortunately some practical issues remain unresolved so we welcome the BHA’s decision to delay the introduction until these are ironed out and added that 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 recognize 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. Wayman also remarked that 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.

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Sunday 27, Oct 2013

  BHA Looks Ahead To IFHA Debate

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BHA Looks Ahead To IFHA Debate

Paul Bittar, chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), has outlined his hopes with the sessions at the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA).

In May this year, the BHA wrote to the IFHA and sought its support for promoting international harmonization amongst all racing nations regarding anabolic steroids. The existence of inconsistencies among racing authorities had been highlighted following finding by BHA of prohibited substances in horses trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni who was later banned for eight years.

The BHA chief executive expressed support for introducing a minimum standard across racing nations and the commitment of British Racing to exceeding that minimum standard wherever possible. Bittar said the BHA strongly believes that there is a need to establish a minimum international standard relating to the use of anabolic steroids in horseracing and we welcome the opportunity for this to be discussed in detail amongst major racing nations. He added with horseracing subject to increasing levels of international competition, it is in the interests of the sport globally to develop a position which provides a level playing field for all participants. Bittar added that announcements regarding changes by the authorities in Dubai and, more recently, Australia, and New Zealand are welcome and have added momentum to the debate.

Bittar added the events of this year, together with the inconsistencies that exist across racing nations, have made it apparent that the control and regulation of the use of anabolic steroids in racing is a complex issue. The BHA chief executive added that our initial objective is to support the IFHA in producing a minimum standard all racing authorities could sign up to. He went on to remark however, subsequent to the conference the BHA intends to continue work on establishing a revised position that is relevant for British Racing and comprised of effective and enforceable measures. Bittar also remarked it is anticipated that this position will exceed the minimum standard in several areas and any amendments to our Rules will provide for the implementation and enforcement of the minimum standard. He also said we anticipate this process, including all necessary consultation, will be completed early in 2014.

Bittar recently remarked that BHA will investigate whether it will be able to follow the lead set by the Australian Racing Board and introduce a blanket ban on the use of anabolic steroids in horses, both in and out of competition. Peter McGauran, the chief executive of Australian Racing Board, had remarked that the ban on anabolic steroids goes far beyond any other racing jurisdiction outside Europe and was decided by the ARB after lengthy consideration of veterinary and scientific advice and consultation with trainers’ and owners’ associations. He added the ARB has adopted a zero tolerance policy to the use of anabolic steroids in competition, training and spelling [pre-training] and will institute heavy penalties for breaches of the ban. In response, Bittar said he was hopeful that the Zarooni scandal could bring about some movement towards harmonization but he wasn’t expecting Australia to go that far, that quickly.

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Friday 03, May 2013

  BHA Officials To Begin Strict Testing At Moulton Paddocks

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BHA Officials To Begin Strict Testing At Moulton Paddocks

Officials from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) are set to start strict testing at former trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni‘s yard.

Following a BHA hearing, Al Zarooni was banned for eight years after he admitted to administering anabolic steroids to 15 horses under his care at the Godolphin-owned stables in Newmarket. While eleven horses tested positive for banned substances following random checks on April 9, Al Zarooni admitted to giving the drugs to a further four horses. Each of those runners is now subject to a ban of six months from running.

Godolphin is run by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. One of the banned horses is Certify, the former 1,000 Guineas favorite, who will be clear to race again on 9 October 2013, as will the other 14 suspended thoroughbreds.

The BHA is due to start testing and chief executive Paul Bittar and Godolphin are currently tackling the issue of who will oversee the training of horses at the yard. Bittar said the BHA team is working with Godolphin to find an immediate solution to the issue and remarked this is done to ensure that the stable remains licensed, although there won’t be a licensed trainer and remarked there are two assistant trainers but neither of them is fully licensed. It’s likely that Godolphin’s other trainer Saeed Bin Suroor will have oversight for a lot of the horses or Godolphin may choose to decide that Moulton Paddocks will not be used at all during the course of the British summer. The BHA chief executive added Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed have given us a commitment that they will cooperate fully with all of our requirements in terms of investigations and the BHA team will be at Al Zarooni’s stable to scan all the horses and do an inventory.

Bittar said he hoped the bans for Al Zarooni and the doped horses will serve to reassure the public, and the sport’s participants, that use of performance enhancing substances in British racing will not be tolerated and added we welcome the proactive response of Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed in announcing their intention to review the procedures of this stable and the need to ensure that all horses formerly trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni are tested and cleared before they race again. He also added that the BHA will itself consider the wider issues that are raised by this matter and we will seek to ascertain and collate all other relevant information including, where necessary, interviewing other employees or contractors of Godolphin.

Meanwhile, Godolphin founder Sheikh Mohammed has been vocal in his condemnation of the doping incident and locked down the Moulton Paddocks yard until full testing of every horse is undertaken.

In another development, Godolphin’s racing manager Simon Crisford said Al Zarooni acted with recklessness and caused tremendous damage to Godolphin and British racing and he thinks it will take a very long time for Godolphin to regain the trust of the British public and said we’re shocked and completely outraged by the actions he has taken.

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Thursday 02, May 2013

  Newmarket Trainers In A State Of Shock

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Newmarket Trainers In A State Of Shock

After Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni was charged after tests found traces of anabolic steroids in 11 of his horses and subsequently banned, Newmarket trainers are in a state of shock.

While a few said they cannot get over how insane the whole thing is, others said the horses administered with steroids could have even won without them, while some believe a big stable like Godolphin should lead by example.

Michael Bell, one of Newmarket’s Derby-winning trainers, said the home-bred trainers are acutely aware of what drugs are legal and illegal and anyone who does it risks their license. Bell said one is putting his livelihood at stake if he uses illegal substances and so he would say it’s not an across-the-board problem and it appears to be one guy going off on his own, taking the law into his own hands. He also added by being tested, you get found out and there’s no escape.

John Berry, speaking at his yard in Newmarket’s Exeter Road, is not much confident about the existing system and said there are so many things about the affair that just defy belief but one of them is that he’s stupid enough to get caught pointing out that two horses of Zarooni tested positive for a painkiller last year and that therefore he would have known that he was odds-on to receive a spot-check at some point. The BHA investigation will continue with the testing of all horses at Moulton Paddocks, but Berry can see no point to that and said it won’t add to anyone’s knowledge of who’s had what, all it’ll do is tell us who’s got what in their system now. Berry also reports that the testers of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) descend unannounced on “a handful” of stables each year, which he believes is enough of a deterrent for most people but he also feels such measures have a limited impact as larger stables use pre-training yards and so if [drugs] were in any horse’s system, the ones who would have them in their system wouldn’t be present at the time anyway.

He went on to add that even though anabolic steroids can pass through a horse’s system in a short time, the benefit derived from them may last for much longer and a horse may spend months in a pre-training yard, getting daily doses of steroids, and the British Horseracing Authority would be unable to prove it as such yards are unlicensed and their testers have no right to enter them since horses are only required to be in a licensed yard for a fortnight before racing. Berry also said that anabolic steroids cannot be relied upon to improve a horse’s ability as they would a human athlete and added that if you could get a horse so that he was that much bulkier than the others, he’d probably break down and if you could get his blood so much richer than the others, he’d start bleeding. He also said there are optimum levels for everything and if it’s been routine to use this in Zarooni’s stable, his results suggest they’re more of a hindrance than a help.

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Saturday 16, Apr 2011

  Kentucky to join national racing compact

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Kentucky to join national racing compactKentucky has the opportunity to be among the first states to join permanently staving off the threats of fatal breakdowns and crooked betting in horseracing with an interstate compact.

So far, only Colorado has signed, and the historic bill is ready to be introduced in Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia this year.

Lately, the game of horseracing has been hit by allegations of anabolic steroids and performance enhancing drugs.