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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MEDICATION AND DOPING CONTROL

Questions on the Policy on Medication and Doping Control
Defining Prohibited Substances
Use of Medication in Horses in training
Acquisition, storage, use and recording of medicines used in racehorses
Advice on Use of Feed Supplements
Advice on the use of herbal products
Sampling and Testing

QUESTIONS ON THE BHA's POLICY ON MEDICATION AND DOPING CONTROL

What is the difference between medication control and doping control?
It is accepted that medication should be used appropriately in racehorses, and so recognised that medication should be controlled on racedays. Medication control is not Zero Tolerance: its intention is that there is no racing under the direct influence of medication.

Medication control aims to ensure, through science based information, advice and prevention, that the BHA, and so the wider public, can be assured that in a race any drug, or their metabolites, that remains from veterinary treatment given at any time before racing is below a level where it can affect the horse, and so not affect performance.

It is accepted that 'doping' drugs (e.g. cocaine , amphetamine, reserpine or anabolics ) are primarily performance altering, and are not allowed in racing or training at any concentration: This is Zero Tolerance policy

What is the BHA's policy on the use of medication in racing?
We work on the principle that no horse should run in Great Britain under the effects of medication or have any substance present in its system that can affect performance.

We recognise the need for medication in trainer to ensure treatment of disease and injury. Appropriate and controlled medication is good for horse welfare. It is also important to recognise that the rules of racing prohibit the abuse of medication by its sole and excessive use where the appropriate treatment should be rest and recuperation, which may or may not combined with appropriate drug treatment

What is the BHA's policy on the use of doping agents in racing?
Doping drugs that are primarily performance altering, and are not allowed in racing at any concentration so there is zero tolerance to doping agents and the imposition of severe sanctions if used.

What is the thinking behind these policies?
Every rule relating to the control of medication and doping is based on trying to create safe and fair racing. We take into account the following considerations:

  • What is in the best interests of the health and welfare of the sport's participants
  • What is in the best interests of the integrity of the sport
  • What is in the best interests of the thoroughbred breed in the long term
  • Will it support international harmonisation of medication and doping rules
  • Will it support the spirit of horseracing as a sport
Do the same Rules apply to horses from overseas racing in Britain?
Yes, and specific Information is available to assist trainers of horses trained outside Great Britain, including advice on Doping and Medication control, on vaccination requirement, on welfare standards and other matters


DEFINING PROHIBITED SUBSTANCES

How does BHA define a 'prohibited substance'?
Any substance that falls into the below categories is considered to be a prohibited substance:

  • Substances capable at any time of acting on one or more of the following mammalian body systems:
    • the nervous system
    • the cardiovascular system
    • the respiratory system
    • the digestive system
    • the urinary system
    • the reproductive system
    • the musculoskeletal system
    • the blood system
    • the immune system except for licensed vaccines against infectious agents
    • the endocrine system
  • Endocrine secretions and their synthetic counterparts
  • Masking agents.
This is in line with the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities' agreement.

Why doesn't the BHA publish a definitive list of prohibited substances?
We don't publish a list of banned or prohibited substances. The reason for this is that because we don't allow anything to be present at levels that could affect performance on raceday, the list would be almost endless.

We don't allow anything to be given to the horse on raceday other than food and water, which must be fed in the normal manner (i.e. in a bucket, as opposed to in a syringe or any other means). More details are available on raceday restrictions on treatment.

What substances do the BHA test for?
The Rules of Racing don't allow anything to be present at levels that could affect performance on raceday. There is no definitive list of individual substances; rather substances are classified based on their effect on the horse’s body systems. This ensures that both current and as yet undeveloped substances can be covered by the same Rules. In practical terms the laboratory testing protocols routinely applied in British horseracing use expertly developed databases that will detect around 2,000 different substances. These may be substances commonly used for legitimate treatment or substances where we have intelligence of possible use or abuse. These databases are constantly being updated as new drugs or new uses of existing drugs are developed. Even new 'designer' drugs intended such as for abuse in people, such as synthetic cannabinoids, can be quickly added. So if a new or previously unidentified substance is found it will still be identified and action taken.

What happens if a substance found is not in the existing database of around 2,000 substances?
We still may take action. The laboratory testing approach is based on a number of extraction and purification steps carried out on each sample to isolate prohibited substances according to their broad chemical characteristics. These extracts are then analysed by chromatographic instruments linked to mass spectrometric detector systems. The information generated is first compared to the current databases of around 2,000 different substances.

A major advantage of mass spectrometry is that it provides information about a substance based on its unique molecular structure. One of the latest versions of the technique utilises high resolution accurate mass measurement. This technique is powerful enough to indicate the presence of an unusual substance, even if it is not currently in the database of known substances. Such a finding is then investigated, the substance identified and action taken if necessary. These advances in technology mean that intelligence about new substances can be generated and evaluated much quicker than would previously have been possible.

What are the rules on prohibited substances for horses and ponies in racing?
The British Horseracing Authority regulates horseracing and Point to Pointing in Great Britain. It also approves Rules for Pony and Arab racing. Specifically those Rules on prohibited substances at http://rules.britishhorseracing.com/Orders-and-rules&staticID=126284&depth=3, with further information at: www.britishhorseracing.com/resources/equine-science-and-welfare/

What drugs are never allowed, even in training?
There are certain drugs, which are listed (an anabolic steroid, a peptide hormone or analogue, or a ß2 adrenoceptor stimulants (except when prescribed by a Veterinary Surgeon)) in the Rules, must never be found in horse in training:

Medication should be an aid to recovery, not a tool to enable a horse that should be resting and recuperating to race or train. The Rules therefore also provide that 'Trainers must ensure that all treatments and medication administered to a horse under his care or control are given in the interests of its best health and welfare.'

Why is it that traces of antibiotics or wormers are allowed to be present on raceday?
It has been scientifically established that antibiotics do not improve performance on raceday. We would not wish for a trainer to stop giving a course of antibiotics prescribed by a vet in order for the horse to be eligible to run in the future - it's important to complete any course of antibiotics to help prevent bacteria from developing immunity to the antibiotics. More details on detection of Anti-Infective Drugs can in the BHA Notices Section of the Rules Website and there are specific notices on:

  • Procaine penicillin (white injection, looks like milk) is prohibited since procaine is a local anaesthetic
  • Levamisole, a wormer used in farm animals, is prohibited in horses where it is sometimes used to stimulate the immune system
  • Amantidine, a drug used to treat influenza and that may also alter behaviour

USE OF MEDICATION ON HORSES IN TRAINING

What are Detection Times' and 'Withdrawal Times'?
For a relatively small number of commonly used drugs in horses the time taken for the substance to pass through the horse's system and for the levels of the substance to become so low that they are recognised as having 'no effect' has been studied and published

The time taken for this to happen is known as the 'Detection Time'. More specifically a Detection Time is the interval between the time of the last drug administration and the time at which the observed urine (and plasma) concentrations in horses during an experiment conducted according to EHLSC recommendations are below the harmonised International Screening Limit (ISL) as obtained with the routine analytical method.

A 'Withdrawal Time' is basically a Detection Time with an additional length of time added on by a vet (at their own discretion) to allow the substance to take effect and then pass through the horse. It's very important to remember that all horses are different, and there are no guarantees that a substance will be completely out of a horse's system even if you give the drug well in advance of the known Detection Time - but if a substance is given to a horse at least this far in advance of an intended race, there's a hugely reduced chance of a positive test occurring.

Its important to note that a Detection Time is not equivalent to a Withdrawal Time. The Withdrawal Time should be longer than a Detection Time to take into account the impact of all sources of animal variability (age, sex, breed, training, racing...) in order to avoid a positive control and those of the medicinal product actually administered (formulation, route of administration, dosage regimen, duration of treatment...).

Detection Time studies have been coordinated for several years by a cooperation of European Racing Authorities coming together as the European Horseracing Scientific Liaison Committee (EHSLC); so Detection Times are harmonised across Europe

Where can I find detection Times?
On the Authority's website and a downloadable sheet is available.

How are Screening Limits and Detection Times produced?
A summary of the process is available on the website of the European Horseracing Scientific Liaison Committee. A presentation and video explaining the process is available.

Why do we have Detection Times for some substances and not others?
It is not possible to provide Detection Times for all commonly used medications; however the simple truth is that there is a limited amount of research that has been undertaken to date, and we just don't have the information available for every licensed drug. We are working, both in Britain and internationally via information sharing agreements, to remedy this and provide more Detection Times, but until we have the research available, we aren't able to provide a Detection Time for a drug.

Why can't BHA produce more Detection Times?
We are working at the moment to get detection times for more commonly used substances; but the research takes time and it expensive. The Authority has a research programme to produce more Detection Times. The Authority also works with our European and American counterparts to share information and study results to reduce cost and increase the amount of information available

Why no advice in their absence?
There are no short cuts to an authoritative and robust Detection Time. Veterinary practice does have experience on estimating withdrawal times for a range of substance, advice is available from the Authority's website and specific advice is available from the BHA's Veterinary Advisor, who can be contacted by email at: eswadmin@britishhorseracing.com

Screening limits - what are they and where do they come from?
A Screening Limit refers to the minimum amount of substance that the laboratory's machines are set to detect. With advances in modern technology we actually quite often ask the laboratory not to set the sensitivity of the machines used to analyse the samples to their maximum level - as they are capable of picking up minuscule amount of a substance, at levels which clearly can't have affected a horse's performance.

In practice, the screening limit is set around a level that research tells us a substance starts to have an effect. It's comparable to the law of this country allowing a driver up to 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (or 35 micrograms per 100ml of breath) - so the 'breath test' machines used by the police for roadside tests are set to report a positive result for 35 micrograms and above. Anything below that comes as a negative, although there could well be some alcohol present. A Screening limit include a consideration of the risk to horseracing's integrity, as well as the scientific information on levels at which the drug has no effect.

Does the Authority publish Screening Limits?
No, the Authority published the Detection Times, which is used by Veterinary Surgeons to advice a Withdrawal Time. Screening Limits are instructions to laboratories which set a level above which medications are reported, in recognition that minuscule amount of medication have no effect. Screening Limits are both of little use to Veterinary Surgeons but more importantly there publication would show the confidential assessments on integrity risks made by the Authority.

What is meant by Risk management in medication Control?
Risk management is the process of weighting policy alternatives to accept, minimize or reduce the assessed risk and, on the basis of this process, to select and implement the appropriate option regarding prevention, control or regulation measures.

In this context the Screening Limit is therefore not quantitatively identical to the non effect level of the medication but a value related to it, via an ordinal scale, that takes into account the specific factors considered in risk management in this situation. These factors include the extent of use of the drug in equine veterinary practice and its potential to affect the welfare of the horse or to improve its performance.

This process is a fundamentally different approach to simply permitting medication or particular drugs, but it still allows horse welfare and treatment needs to be considered in the context of assuring integrity.

Why can't I treat for the best welfare of my horse?
You can, and the Authority's risk management for Detection Times includes assessment of both the risk from treating (integrity) and not treating (welfare) and makes an informed judgement to allow appropriate treatment.

The Rules of Racing also state that a Trainer must also ensure that all treatments and medication administered to a horse under his care or control are given in the interests of its best health and welfare. Specifically; every treatment must be fully justifiable by the medical condition of the horse receiving the treatment, horses that are not trainable as a result of injury or disease must be given appropriate veterinary treatment before training is resumed, and the Trainer must obtain advice from the Veterinary Surgeon prescribing a treatment as to the appropriate level of training during the duration of the treatment.

What are 'Threshold Levels' and how are they different to Screening limits ?
For substances endogenous to the horse (that is, substances that occur naturally within the horse), threshold levels are agreed by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities. So if a sample contains any of the endogenous substances listed at a higher concentration than the threshold level, this leads to a positive test result being given.

A full list of substances that have Threshold Levels, and the levels themselves, can be found on the IFHA website under Article 6 of the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering, and these are included in the Rules of Racing.

How are 'Threshold Levels' Set?
These are recommended by the International Federation of Horseracing Authority's Advisory Council on Prohibited Substances, after consultation with official analysts and veterinarians of signatory countries, and approved by the Federation. Then they are adopted by the Authority and included in the Rules of Racing.

Why does the Authority not perform Quantitative analysis on positive samples?
The Authority maintains a policy of strict liability for the presence of any drug, including medications, on racedays. Screening Limits are instructions to laboratories which set a level above which medications are reported, in recognition that minuscule amount of medication have no effect.

Quantification of the amount of medication present in a positive sample is not necessary because there is no regulatory threshold for medications; the screening limit is a policy decision that recognises the analytical sensitivity of modern laboratory technology. It is a lt more expensive to get quantitative analysis done, and so it also doesn't represent best value for the sport's participants.

Use of Anabolic Steroids
Anabolic steroid must not be used in horses in training. If veterinary advice dictate the use of anabolic steroids the condition of the horse is likely to be such that it should be taken out of training.


ACQUISITION, STORAGE, USE AND RECORDING OF MEDICINES USED IN RACEHORSES

What categories of medicines can be supplied to and used by horse keepers?
Prescription Only Medicine - Veterinarian (POM-V): Can only be supplied by a veterinary surgeon or a pharmacist in accordance with a prescription from a veterinary surgeon.

Prescription Only Medicine - Veterinarian, Pharmacist, Suitably Qualified Person (POM-VPS): Can only be supplied by a veterinary surgeon, pharmacist or suitably qualified person in accordance with a prescription from one of those persons.
(NFA-VPS - Not applicable to horses as horses are considered food producing species)

Authorised Veterinary Medicine - General Sales List (AVM -GSL): There are no restrictions on the supply of AVM – GSL products.

More information: http://www.vmd.defra.gov.uk/pdf/vmgn/VMGNote03.pdf

What is an authorised veterinary medicine and how do I recognise it?
Either any substance or combination of substances presented as having properties for treating or preventing disease in animals; and/or any substance or combination of substances that may be used in, or administered to, animals with a view either to restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action, or to making a medical diagnosis is by definition a veterinary medicinal product and must have a Marketing Authorisation from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. The active ingredients and Marketing Authorisation (MA) number must be listed on the label (http://www.vmd.defra.gov.uk/public/label.aspx) and the product will be listed as a UK authorised veterinary medical product: http://www.vmd.defra.gov.uk/ProductInformationDatabase/. UK authorised veterinary medicinal products can be identified by the prefix Vm, EU or Vh followed by numbers.

Can I buy a veterinary medicine through the Internet?
Yes, provided it has a UK Marketing Authorisation. Orders for POM-V products purchased through the internet must be accompanied by a valid veterinary prescription. If the medicine you wish to purchase requires a veterinary prescription, all reputable sites will ask for this prescription to be provided. Sales of POM-VPS medicines (such as horse wormers) should be based on the suitability of the product for your horse/s. For the internet seller to fulfil their legal obligations you should be asked to provide some information about your horse before completing your purchase for these medicines. AVM-GSL medicines can be sold with no interaction.

Can I use a veterinary medicine bought for another species in a horse, or for another reason?
An authorised medicine must only be used for the species and specific purpose indicated on the labelling except under the direction of your veterinary surgeon. Only a veterinary surgeon can prescribe a product for use 'off-label' and this is done to address the lack of availability of an authorised product to treat a particular condition. You will usually be asked for your informed consent under these circumstances. Once prescribed, you can purchase the product from the prescribing veterinary surgeon or from a different veterinary surgeon or a pharmacist (even through the internet) on presentation of a written prescription.

What do I do if I am offered an unauthorised veterinary medicine?
You should recognise that a product that claims to treat and/or if administered modifies physiological functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action but has no Marketing Authorisation is in breach of the Veterinary Medicines Regulations and can carry no claim of safety or efficacy. Possession or supply, or administration to animals of unauthorised medicines is illegal under the Veterinary Medicines Regulations. It may put your horse at undefined risk, and may also place you in breach of the Rules of Racing.
You should inform your veterinary surgeon if you are so approached, or the VMD: http://www.vmd.defra.gov.uk/business/contact.aspx

Can I legally use an unauthorised veterinary medicinal product in my horse, for example, a product authorised in Ireland or another member state but not in the UK?
Yes, if a veterinary surgeon has decided that the use of such medicinal product is appropriate under the rules of the cascade for animal welfare reasons, he/she can prescribe the medicine to that particular animal. In this case the medicine may be legally imported into the UK through the VMD's import scheme. Details on how to use the scheme may be found here: http://www.vmd.defra.gov.uk/sis/default.aspx You will usually be asked for your informed consent under these circumstances.

How should medicines for horses be stored?
Product labels usually give guidance on how to store the product. Trainers need to be mindful of the security and integrity of the product. In most cases drugs are best stored or contained in a locked cupboard or, if storage at lower temperatures is specifically indicated, in a fridge.

What records must I keep on the use of veterinary medicines in horses?
Veterinary surgeons must record any vaccines given in the horse's passport. If the horse is signed out of the food chain in its passport, generally no other records need to be kept for the VMD. If the horse is not signed out of the food chain there are strict recording requirements for the acquisition, use and disposal of medicines: http://www.vmd.defra.gov.uk/pdf/vmgn/VMGNote16.pdf

The Authority also requires that Trainers keep medication records for one year: date of commencement and prescribed duration of any Treatment, name of the horse, name of the Treatment used, route and dosage per day of the Treatment, name of the Person administering the Treatment, and name of the Person authorising or prescribing the Treatment.


ADVICE ON USE OF FEED SUPPLEMENTS

What feed supplements can I use?
The ingredients in a feed supplement should be for maintaining normal body function by nutrition. Thus a feed supplement claiming to be a treatment in labelling or advertising, and/or that contains substances in amounts that may be restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action is likely to result, under the Rules of Racing as being considered as a treatment containing Prohibited Substances and its administration, as well as its detection, may lead to disciplinary sanctions.

Interpretation of the difference between a feeding stuff and a treatment must therefore be a question of informed context and judgment. The Authority would assess the claims made for the product, the substance present using authoritative scientific information and the amounts of active substance present.

How can I get advice?
On the one hand the British Horseracing Authority should support both innovation and welfare enhancements. On the other hand the Authority should not expose trainers and owners to the risk of a positive, however caused, or to using devices that are against the Rules for fair racing. We support Trainers, veterinary surgeons, racecourses and commercial enterprises should feel free to ask the Authority first on particular treatments or therapies before use or promotion.

In the case of any product the manufacturer of a product must first decide if it is a veterinary medicinal product in which case must be the subject of a valid Marketing Authorisation (MA), issued by the VMD. There are clear definitions for veterinary medications products.

In these Regulations 'veterinary medicinal product' means-
(a) any substance or combination of substances presented as having properties for treating or preventing disease in animals; or
(b) any substance or combination of substances that may be used in, or administered to, animals with a view either to restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action, or to making a medical diagnosis http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2009/uksi_20092297_en_2#pt1-l1g2

However the Rules of Racing do not apply just to the use of authorised Veterinary Medicinal Products, but more widely, Therefore even for a supplement we would require the manufacturer to provide a quantitative analysis of the composition of the product and what it claims to do to offer advice. Our advice can only related to the Rules of (Horse) Racing. This should be sent by email to eswadmin@britishhorseracing.com

To be clear this is not approval or endorsement by the Authority, but simply allows advice trainers, veterinary surgeons, and racecourses if there are any issues from our perspective. The Authority must not be quoted on any product literature, but manufactures can refer to our advice, if given in full, in direct dialogue with trainers and vets.

It is important to note that the British Horseracing Authority regulates horseracing and point to pointing in Great Britain. It also approves Rules for Pony and Arab racing. We do not comment on specific matters relating to sports which we do not regulate. These are a matter for the regulator of that sport. For equestrian sport, this is the role of the FEI, which has a dedicated website on medication control: www.feicleansport.org/

Can a feed supplement say it is approved by the British Horseracing Authority?
No it cannot. The Authority does not endorse or warrant particular products, and unequivocally disassociates itself from such claims.

The Authority may advise Trainers and their veterinary surgeons or feed supplement manufactures if a particular ingredient is a prohibited substance. The Authority's advice must not be quoted on any product literature, but feed supplement manufacturers can refer to the Authority's written advice, if given in full, in direct dialogue with trainers and their veterinary surgeons.

Please note the Jockey Club no longer regulates British horseracing, so reference to approval by the Jockey Club or similar, or indeed approved by racing authorities, have no meaning.


ADVICE ON THE USE OF HERBAL PRODUCTS

Should Herbal treatments have a Marketing Authorisation number?
Yes, if they make medicinal claims to treat and/or prevent disease on labels, packaging or in advertising and/or if administration modifies physiological functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action- http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2009/uksi_20092297_en_2#pt1-l1g2

Are herbal products prohibited substances under the Rules of Racing?
The active substances contained within the herbal ingredients are prohibited substances if they fulfill the criteria for a prohibited substance under the Rules of Racing, which are defined as substances that are any substance capable at any time of acting on one or more of specified mammalian body systems.

To understand the difference between the presence of herbs in feedstuffs and use for treatment is helpful to note the legal definition of a 'veterinary medicinal product' which is(a) any substance or combination of substances presented as having properties for treating or preventing disease in animals; or (b) any substance or combination of substances that may be used in, or administered to, animals with a view either to restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action, or to making a medical diagnosis.

Thus a herbal product claiming to be a treatment in labelling or advertising, and/or that contains substances in amounts that may be restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action is likely to result, under the Rules of Racing as being considered as a treatment containing Prohibited Substances and its administration, as well as its detection, may lead to disciplinary sanctions.

Interpretation of the difference between a feeding stuff and a treatment must therefore be a question of informed context and judgment. The Authority would assess the claims made for the product, the substance present using authoritative information (such as Herbal Medicines, published by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain), and the amounts of active substance present.
More information: 'The Efficacy of Some Commonly Supplemented Herbs in Equine Nutrition'

Doesn't this mean that there many disciplinary cases for feeding herbal supplements?
No, the statistics and details of the findings of the Disciplinary Panel of the Authority show that the Authority is clearly not prosecuting every trainer on every raceday for the minute traces of herbs, which may support and maintain normal function, that are found in normal feedstuffs. However it does take action when herbal treatments are administered.

Trainers are reminded of several other key considerations
i) A Person must not administer a Prohibited Substance to a horse, attempt to do so, allow or cause a Prohibited Substance to be administered to a horse, or connive at the administration of a Prohibited Substance to a horse, with the intention to affect the performance of the horse in a race or with knowledge that its performance in a race could be affected.
ii) The requirement to keep records of medication and this must include herbal treatments.
iii) The need to consider whether a herbal product has been assessed for its safety in horses.
iv) The need to consider whether the use of a herbal product may interact with other medicines being used at the same time

Can Herbal Products be detected in the same was as other medications?
Yes they can be detected in the same way as other medications. Herbs contain chemicals that are the source of the effect of the herb on the body. These chemicals can be detected in the Authority's laboratory. The Authority's research programme has included specific studies on herbal products.

How can I get advice?
In the case of any product the manufacturer of a product must first decide if it is a veterinary medicinal product in which case must be the subject of a valid Marketing Authorisation (MA), issued by the VMD. There are clear definitions for veterinary medications products:.

In these Regulations 'veterinary medicinal product' means-
(a) any substance or combination of substances presented as having properties for treating or preventing disease in animals; or
(b) any substance or combination of substances that may be used in, or administered to, animals with a view either to restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action, or to making a medical diagnosis http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2009/uksi_20092297_en_2#pt1-l1g2

However the Rules of Racing do not apply just to the use of authorised Veterinary Medicinal Products, but more widely, Therefore for any herbal product we would require the manufacturer to provide a quantitative analysis of the composition of the product and what it claims to do to offer advice. Our advice can only related to the Rules of (Horse) Racing. This should be sent by email to eswadmin@britishhorseracing.com

To be clear this is not approval or endorsement by the Authority, but simply allows advice trainers, veterinary surgeons, and racecourses if there are any issues from our perspective. The Authority must not be quoted on any product literature, but manufactures can refer to our advice, if given in full, in direct dialogue with trainers and vets.

It is important to note that the British Horseracing Authority regulates horseracing and point to pointing in Great Britain. It also approves Rules for Pony and Arab racing. We do not comment on specific matters relating to sports which we do not regulate. These are a matter for the regulator of that sport. For equestrian sport, this is the role of the FEI, which has a dedicated website on medication control: http://www.feicleansport.org/

Can a herbal product say it is approved by the British Horseracing Authority?
No it cannot. The Authority does not endorse or warrant particular products, and unequivocally disassociates itself from such claims.

The Authority may advise atrainers and their veterinary surgeons or feed supplement manufactures if a particular ingredient is a prohibited substance. The Authority's advice must not be quoted on any product literature, but feed supplement manufacturers can refer to the Authority's written advice, if given in full, in direct dialogue with trainers and their veterinary surgeons.

Please note the Jockey Club no longer regulates British horseracing, so reference to approved by the Jockey Club or similar, or indeed approved by racing authorities, have no meaning.


SAMPLING AND TESTING

Why is sampling done?
The Authority uses a targeted, intelligence led approach with the work of our Integrity Services team increasingly dictating which horses are tested. This is complemented by the Stewards on the day selecting horses for testing, often on the basis of their performance. An element of random surveillance continue (often the winner and/or the beaten favourite in practice), but this will be reduced over time. Therefore post-race testing procedure remains important with selected horses being taken to the sampling box to provide a urine sample, although in the future more blood, even other, samples may be taken.

The Authority increasing conducts pre-race and in-training testing which allow it to act quickly on intelligence received, but it also acts as a major deterrent to the extremely small minority of people in the sport who would deliberately attempt to influence the outcome of a race via the use of prohibited substances.

In-training testing also allows the Authority to ensure that trainers and their staff are using medication for horses in training appropriately and keeping accurate records of their use. By testing horses in training the Authority can work with trainers to identify best practice with regard to use of medication, share this information with others (specifically other trainers, vets, the NTF and other international racing authorities) and help avoid potential raceday positives that occur unwittingly as a result of medication being administered too closely to the day of the race.

When used, targeted testing will be done based on established objective procedures. The Authority uses an intelligence system based on the Police National Intelligence Model, which set standards for process, professionalism, fairness and confidentiality.

How is sampling done?
Pre-race testing and testing in training are is normally undertaken via a blood sample, as opposed to a urine sample, which occurs in post-race testing. However other samples are also taken, including hair and saliva.

The actual sampling procedures follow normal veterinary practices. There are procedures to following to ensure samples are not contaminated and correctly indentified: View Procedures

There is a robust chain of custody from the place of sampling to the laboratory, and within the laboratory there are rigorous procedures to ensure sample integrity.

How are levels of detection changed?
There are not unannounced changes in the sensitivity of drug tests performed for the Authority.

The Authorities contract with its testing laboratory contains these specific requirements.

'No change to the Performance Specification (for the detection of substances, including capability to detect (weight/volume) and any regulatory or other screening limit (weight/volume)] will be made at any stage of analysis without the specific and informed consent of the BHA. HFL shall consider the impact of changes in instrument sensitivity, changes to methods such as extraction from a matrix and changes resulting from malfunction of an instrument so as to assure the BHA that Performance Specification outputs are not inadvertently changed.'

'Implementation of any changes to methodology, including effects on analytical sensitivity, must be agreed in advance with the BHA. If such change is made at HFL's instigation then the BHA may require, at no additional cost to the BHA, a period of 'parallel running' of the proposed change against the existing screening methodology. For clarity, these requirements may apply equally to changes dictated by changes in the Laboratory Standards (the quality control systems in place.'

The Authority's Internal Procedures include the requirement to notify change.

A formal procedure was in place with the Authority's Regulatory Committee for consideration and notification on any proposed change to the analytical testing methodology used to detect drugs in racehorses. When the Regulatory Committee was dissolved this procedure was transferred to the Authority's Board.

A risk based assessment is made of the need for change. A transition period is set for old and new tests, during this time they are run in parallel, and any disciplinary action taken based on the old test. At the end of any transition period an assessment is made of the need for change. The Board and the Integrity Services & Licensing Department are informed at the start of any transition period and before any final implementation and stakeholder consultation is reported.

Before implementing any changes in analytical sensitivity for medications used for treatment the Authority consults with the National Trainers Federation (NTF). This consultation will generally be based around new or changed Detection Times. Veterinary organisations will also be involved as required. The NTF is notified when changes are put into effect.

Whilst the majority of substances in which the Authority have an interest are medicines for treatment, it does also have a responsibility to control substances misused for doping which have no place in racing. Here the analytical approach is robust identification and not any control of sensitivity. Consultation here is, by necessity, more limited and the Authority may not consult before action is taken

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