British racing’s new “zero tolerance” anabolic steroids policy has been delayed until March.

The new policy — which was announced June to improve integrity in racing — needs “further clarification on certain elements”, according to the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

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

The move followed two high-profile steroids cases in the past year, one involving Godolphin trainer Mahmood al Zarooni the other Gerard Butler.

“The reason for the deferral is to allow more time to work with stakeholders, trainers and owners in particular, to clarify certain elements of the new Rules and to secure consensus from all affected parties,” read a BHA statement.

“These elements include the definition of a “responsible person”, i.e. the individual with the responsibility for ensuring that a horse is not administered with an anabolic steroid at any given time.”

These outstanding issues are being resolved in consultation with the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), National Trainers Federation (NTF) and Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA).

The policy includes that a horse must never be administered with an anabolic steroid at any time, from birth to retirement; greater powers for 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; a more stringent 14 month stand-down period for horses found to have been administered with anabolic steroids; and greater controls on horses running in Britain from international jurisdictions.

“This is a complex issue and while we are disappointed not to be in a position to launch on 1 January, I have no doubt that we are doing the right thing in not trying to rush its introduction,” said Jamie Stier, director of raceday operations and regulation for the BHA.

“Extending our regulatory powers beyond that of horses in the care or control of licensed personnel is critical to the success of the policy.

“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.”