Rules regarding steroid use in racehorses in Britain are to be bolstered with the implementation of a zero-tolerance policy, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced.

Under new rules to be introduced on 1 January 2015, a racehorse “must not be administered an anabolic steroid at any time, with no exceptions”.

Bans have also been substantially increased. Horses that test positive for anabolic steroids will be stood down from racing for 14 months — up from the current six months.

The move follows two high-profile steroid cases that rocked British racing last year.

In April, Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni was banned for eight years for giving anabolic steroids to 22 horses in his care.

Then, in December, Newmarket trainer Gerard Butler was warned off for five years after nine of his horses tested positive.

The BHA said the zero tolerance policy, which was announced last month (26 June), was designed to “ensure a level playing field in Britain” and was a “further step toward international harmonisation”.

The BHA’s Paul Bittar said: “After a challenging 16 months, as a result of the actions taken already by several nations, the sport globally is now in a much better place when it comes to the regulation of anabolic steroids.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (10 July, 2014)