Sweden added to list of racing nations exempt from pre-race sampling requirements of international runners

12 May 2015 Integrity

  • Sweden joins Ireland, France and Germany as the nations whose runners in Britain are treated in the same way as British-registered horses
  • All other international runners are required to be sampled prior to running in Britain

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) today announces the addition of Sweden to the list of racing nations whose runners in Britain will be treated, in terms of sampling procedures, the same as British-trained horses. The other countries that already form part of this group are Ireland, France and Germany due to key aspects of their anti-doping policies reflecting those of the BHA.

As part of the BHA’s revised equine anti-doping policy first announced in June 2014, it was confirmed that visiting runners from Ireland, France and Germany would be exempt from the requirement of being in Britain 10 business days in advance of their intended race in order to be sampled. Runners from these jurisdictions are instead treated akin to British runners and sampled as per the BHA’s standard testing policy.

Following confirmation that the rules of Svensk Galopp, Sweden’s horseracing regulatory body, together with Sweden’s national legislation, meet the BHA’s anti-doping requirements Sweden has been added to this list of exempt nations.

Jamie Stier, Director of Raceday Operations and Regulation for the BHA, said:

“We are pleased to confirm that Sweden’s anti-doping rules meet the criteria required for exemption from Britain’s sampling procedures for foreign runners.

“The key considerations that underpin the decision are that in Swedish racing the use of anabolic steroids is not permitted under any circumstances, there is no therapeutic use exemption and horses are subject to testing from registration until retirement from racing. This includes out-of-competition testing regardless of the horse’s whereabouts.”

There is currently one Swedish-trained horse entered for Royal Ascot, Volatile, who is entered in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup, due to be run on Friday 19 June.

The BHA is continuing to develop its protocol for sampling international runners from outside of Ireland, France, Germany and Sweden. The preference is for horses to be in Britain at least 10 business days in advance of running to facilitate sampling here, but the BHA has been working with connections, racecourses and the International Racing Bureau to facilitate approved sample collection overseas. In such circumstances, horses from abroad are being sampled on a case-by-case basis via a BHA-approved process.

Trainers outside of Britain, Ireland, France, Germany and Sweden are reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure the BHA is provided with sufficient notice so that their horse can be sampled and the results returned prior to the horse running. A horse will not be permitted to run in Britain until its sample has been given the all-clear.

Jamie Stier, Director of Raceday Operations and Regulation for the BHA, added:

“Our Equine Anti-Doping Rules have extended the responsibilities for connections of foreign runners in Britain to ensure that they comply with the policy. Trainers from outside of the exempt countries considering sending a horse to run in Britain are urged to contact the BHA in advance to organise sampling and the logistics of ensuring their runner arrives in Britain at least 10 working days before the intended run. Where this arrival time is not practicable the BHA will explore with trainers setting up BHA-approved sampling procedures outside of Britain.”

The agreement with Sweden also means that horses imported into Britain from Sweden, like those from Ireland, France and Germany, and which have spent 12 months under their equivalent policies are exempt from the requirement that they must be accompanied by a sample that shows no evidence of anabolic steroid presence or administration.  These horses must still be registered with the General Stud Book at Weatherbys within three months of arrival.


Notes to editors:

1. The BHA’s enhanced, zero-tolerance policy regarding the use of anabolic steroids was implemented in March 2015. The policy ensures that British Racing not only adheres to, but exceeds, where possible, the international minimum standards on steroid use, as published by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) in October 2013.

2. 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 Great Britain from international jurisdictions.

3. Full details can be found here: https://www.britishhorseracing.com/resource-centre/anti-doping-medication-control/equine-anti-doping-rules-and-guidance

4. The BHA’s enhanced anti-doping policy was published in June 2014:


5. The policy applies not only to anabolic steroids but all substances which are prohibited at times, according to the Prohibited List at Manual G, Schedule 1 of the Rules of Racing, which includes:

  • Anabolic agents;
  • Substances not approved for veterinary use;
  • Peptide hormones, growth factors and related substances;
  • Hormone and metabolic modulators;
  • Manipulation of blood and blood components;
  • Blood transfusions;
  • Genetic and cellular manipulation;
  • Oxygen carriers

6. The IFHA minimum standard states that:

IFHA considers that anabolic steroids have no place in horseracing

The use of anabolic steroids should not be permitted in or out of competition

IFHA will work with jurisdictions that may permit exceptional use for therapeutic purposes only, subject to stringent controls and a minimum stand down period to eliminate performance enhancing effects.