London // Britain will try to ram home the point that anabolic steroids should be banned completely from international racing at Paris next month after Australia became the latest jurisdiction to ban the drugs.
The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities will meet at the French capital for the 47th annual conference on October 7, where Paul Bittar, the British Horseracing Authority’s chief executive, will start the debate.
The Australian Racing Board (ARB) yesterday placed a total ban on anabolic steroids for horses aged over six months.
“The Australian Racing Board’s decision is very good news and represents a significant step towards our goal of seeing the use of anabolic steroids for racehorses banned across the globe,” Bittar said.
“We will be submitting a paper outlining our position and we look forward to the matter being discussed next month in Paris.”
Europe has long taken a zero-tolerance approach to anabolic steroids and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, criminalised their use in the UAE in May.
In what was described as a “watershed moment” in Australia, Peter McGauran, the ARB’s chief executive, yesterday announced the ban on anabolic steroids will be introduced on November 1 — just four days before the Melbourne Cup – and that the ban will come into effect on May 1 to allow horses already administered the drugs to be pronounced clean.
“Foremost in the board’s consideration was the need for absolute integrity and public confidence in racing,” McGauran said. “Although the use of steroids has greatly diminished over the years to the point where they are rarely relied upon by trainers, the ARB believes it is in the best interests of the industry that they no longer be available for any purpose other than as a therapeutic treatment for young foals.
“Racing is a sport and, as such, must be a test of the ability of the individual horse, its trainer and rider and not of the pharmacologist, veterinarian or sports scientist.”