Zilpaterol feed contamination: latest updates and advice

06 Oct 2020 BHA Features Integrity

Please see below the latest guidance in relation to Zilpaterol feed contamination. Zilpaterol is a Category A Prohibited Substance under the BHA Rules of Racing.

Advice to trainers who have been feeding GAIN – if you have not already done so, please ensure that all feed equipment (bowls, scoops, bins etc.) is thoroughly cleaned with detergent and plenty of water.

This remains an evolving situation and we have worked alongside our contracted analytical laboratory, LGC, and the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board to agree to the approach outlined below.

We are continuing to gather information on the excretion of Zilpaterol from horses which have been fed contaminated feed, in an effort to provide advice on a suitable withdrawal period. We will update the industry at the earliest opportunity.

Elective testing – available from Tuesday 6 October

From tomorrow, Elective Testing will be available for trainers that have used GAIN Equine Nutrition feed and hold an entry this week (see entries and refunds section, below).

The Elective Testing will be undertaken by the BHA’s analytical laboratory, LGC, and samples will be processed and prioritised in order of race entry.

We anticipate that the sample analysis may take up to 3 working days to complete, though every effort will be made, within reason and depending on the volume of tests, to return results in time for any races in which horses are entered.

More information about the Elective Testing process, including a step-by-step guide and links to downloadable approval and submission forms, is available here.

Please note:

  • Approval forms should be sent in advance of submitting the sample.
  • The sample must be urine and should be collected in a clean (not necessarily sterile), leak-proof container.
  • Elective Testing is done at the trainer’s expense and will cost approximately £133.61+ VAT for each sample submitted.

BHA rules and sanctions

Zilpaterol is a Category A Prohibited Substance under the BHA Rules of Racing.

However, in these circumstances, samples submitted as part of the Elective Testing process will not be used for BHA regulatory purposes.

Therefore, as agreed by the BHA Board, any horse that returns a positive result for Zilpaterol following an approved Elective Test ONLY will not be subject to any further sanction under the BHA Rules of Racing, or to a stand-down period.

Entries and refunds

Trainers with entries for Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 October are advised to consider these carefully if the horses have been fed GAIN Equine Nutrition products (see below). We will provide another update on Wednesday with any further advice regarding entries on Thursday onwards.

Should any affected trainer take the decision to withdraw a runner for Tuesday or Wednesday, the entry fee and entry handling fees can be reimbursed to the owner.

We are working to establish a process for reimbursement, and will provide you with further information at the earliest opportunity.

In the meantime, trainers should record the batch number of the product used, date and location of purchase, and retain a small sample portion of the product should it be required for future reference or analysis.

GAIN Equine Nutrition

The positive cases of Zilpaterol appear to be associated with the use of the following GAIN Equine Nutrition products:

  • Racehorse Cubes
  • Racehorse Mix
  • Opti-Care Balancer

In light of this situation, the BHA advises Trainers and other industry participants to cease using all GAIN Equine Nutrition products immediately until further investigations have been completed to determine the source of the Zilpaterol.

The product manufacturer, GAIN Equine Nutrition, has also been contacting customers directly to advise those with competing horses against feeding its products to animals across all disciplines, until additional testing has been carried out.

GAIN Equine Nutrition has issued a full statement, which can be read here.

Zilpaterol – background information

Zilpaterol is a β2 adrenergic agonist with anabolic properties, which is Category A Prohibited Substance under the BHA Rules of Racing.

It is used in the USA and some other countries as an animal-feed additive to promote weight gain, but such use is not permitted in the EU.

The presence of Zilpaterol is automatically tested for in all samples taken in British racing.

More information

For more information, please contact: equine@britishhorseracing.com